Sam: How many dying wishes are you going to get?
—Supernatural, "The Kids Are Alright"
Something you request right before you die. Sometimes offered to you by your executioner, in which case you might ask for something seemingly innocuous, but pivotal to your narrow escape stratagem or even Thanatos Gambit. You might also be offered one last choice of dish which isn't good for escape but at least you die full. And you might ask them to Get It Over With, which tends to be not what they expect. A common comedy version is asking to not be killed.
See also One Last Smoke for a character indulging a charming partiality one last time.
You can also transfer your responsibilities to someone else with your last breath. Asking someone to take care of your family, deliver a message, avenge you, or generally keep up the good fight is almost playing low though, as a deathbed promise even by request, is very hard to refuse and nearly unbreakable—even if no one would ever know. (Though if you are Dying as Yourself, you may have no choice.) This can be made especially touching with a Pietà Plagiarism, or even Cradling Their Kill!
Occasionally a near-death scene will be faked, in order to get someone to agree to something; most often played for comedy.
Tends to be called a Dying Wish if you're lying around and dying slowly. Compare Last Dance
- Belphegor offers this to Rudolf in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. He asks for a duel. He wins.
- Gren from Cowboy Bebop. He knows he'll be dead by before the end of the episode, so he asks Spike to fulfill his dying wish by towing his ship into orbit and letting him float off in the direction of Titan, the moon he wished to see one last time.
"I won't be able to make it anyway. I figure dying on the way there would be the next best thing."
- Bleach: A dying Hisana Kuchiki asks her husband Byakuya to find her sister Rukia and adopt her into his family 50 years before the story begins.
- In a late episode of Gundam X, Ennil El pretends that Dr. Tex Farzenberg is her lover and ask their captors for one last moment of intimacy. When she unzips her shirt, it reveals a set of flashbang grenades, which they use to escape.
- On her deathbed, Kathy in Shade the Changing Man makes Shade promise to care for their baby.
- Adventures Of The Rifle Brigade. One of the privates has the hots for his commanding officer and takes advantage of each minor bump and wound. One time it was a request for a handjob like 'Nanna used to do'. Nanna did no such thing.
- Nick Fury fufills one of his dying men's request to watch out for his kid. Said kid is a simpleton who, despite supervision, keeps injuring himself. Nick almost shoots the boy to put him out of his seeming misery.
- In Superman and Batman Generations, a dying Joker asks Batman to reveal his identity to "confirm a suspicion" (namely that he's not the first Batman; Joker's right, this Batman is Dick Grayson). Batman refuses, saying "You're the last person I'd want to see die happy!"
- DC Nation : When it seemed that Roy Harper wasn't going to survive the Olympics, he had three. The most serious one was asking his family (Titans and Arrows) to raise Lian. The other two were to will the recently-divorced Flash his Porn Stash, and to request his ashes be shot out of a cannon ala Hunter S. Thompson.
- James Bond
- In You Only Live Twice, James Bond has a cigarette that fires a rocket when lighted. While Blofeld holds him captive (and threatens him with death), Bond asks to be able to smoke, and Blofeld orders a guard to give him his cigarettes. Bond uses the explosion as a distraction to open the false crater and allow the Ninja army to enter.
- The Spy Who Loved Me. Major Amasova has promised to kill Bond after the mission is over to avenge Bond's killing of her boyfriend. He asks to make a last request - for them to "get out of these wet things". Since he's Bond, it works and she forgives him.
- In the original "Casino Royale" Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen) is in front of a firing squad, and requests a last cigarette, which is a bomb he throws at the firing squad. This distracts them which allows him to climb over the wall behind him. Of course, behind that wall is another firing squad performing another execution at that very moment.
- Subverted in Wild Wild West. When Artemus Gordon is about to be executed, he asks to be shot in the heart because he's secretly wearing a bulletproof vest. The Diabolical Mastermind calmly orders that he be shot in the head.
- Rick O'Connell to a nameless guard in the recent version of The Mummy.
Any last requests?
- The Mask. As Tina is about to be blown up by her former boyfriend (who is wearing the title item), she asks him for a Last Kiss.
- Vibes. The Dragon Carl is holding Nick at gunpoint in Ecuador.
Carl: I'll give you a break. Where wouldn't you like to be shot?
- In the first The Naked Gun movie, Frank Drebin is being held at gunpoint. The gunman asks if he has any last requests.
Frank: Can I... have the gun?
- Undercover Brother. Before injecting James Brown with a Mind Control drug, Mr. Feather asks him if he has any last request.
- Near the end of Independence Day, when Russell is about to perform a Heroic Sacrifice he asks an officer to tell his children that he loves them.
Russell: Please do me a favor, tell my children I love them very much.
- Flash Gordon. When Klytus visits Flash in his cell before his execution he asks him if he has "any final requests". Flash asks to see Dale Arden.
- "Peter, Don't tell Harry."
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Eddie Valiant asks Judge Doom to grant one to Roger before "dipping" him. Doom agrees, and Eddie gives Roger a double shot of bourbon. This causes Roger to do his "steam whistle" impersonation, which distracts Doom and the weasels enough for Eddie and Roger to escape.
- Tron: Ram's Famous Last Words. "Flynn, help Tron..."
- In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane asks Gruber if he has any aspirin. This doesn't help McClane escape his predicament, but it does give them a lead on where to find Gruber later.
- The Hatter's last request in Alice in Wonderland is simply to ask the executioner to let him keep his hat on. The executioner simply shrugs and says, "Suit yourself, so long as I can reach your neck." Unbeknownst to him, the hat is part of the Hatter's plan to escape, and it works.
- In Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword, the dying hero's last request is for a Last Kiss.
- In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Grey Knights novel Grey Knights, when the daemon declares it has defeated Alaric, Alaric declares he wishes to go out with defiant last words. He actually uses its True Name against it, which doesn't kill it, but so binds it that the brunt of actually killing can be carried out by the Imperial Guard.
- In Allegiance, Mara Jade's ally Tannis tells her, while dying of burns, to bury him out in space. She does.
- Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception. Right before Julius dies he tells Holly something about saving Artemis, and you know what? He dies, and Holly goes to save Artemis.
- In Les Misérables, Eponine asks Marius to kiss her on the forehead after she's dead. He obliges.
- In Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, Rue asks Katniss to sing for her. Despite not singing for years, Katniss comes through.
- In the opening chapter of the first book of The Stormlight Archive, King Gavilar gives his assassin a dark-glowing sphere of unknown origin and nature, to keep away from "them", and a cryptic message for his brother. The assassin obliges in taking the sphere and leaving the message because he believes the last wishes of the dying are sacred.
- "Look at me..." Snape's Last Words to Harry, he wants Lily's eyes to be the last thing he sees.
- In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, it turns out that Phaethon is suing to have his father declared dead after his father had died to save him and been revived from a noumenal recording, not becuase he is an Ungrateful Bastard but to carry out his father's Last Request.
- In Kristina, The Girl King her Aunt Katrina's last wish is for her to marry her cousin Karl.
- In The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter (better known as Ellis Peters of Brother Cadfael fame), the protagonist Harry has defied his patron's orders, because he felt he had to do the right thing (the order was to hang a child, Harry instead saved the child and brought him back to his father). The patron cannot forgive him this and will have him executed. The patron's wife, who is in love with Harry, manoevres the patron into acknowledging that a last request must be granted. Harry's last request? To have the wife as his bedfellow on his last night. (It's not what you think - they just talk, but it's a magnificent Take That.)
- In Angel, Fred's last request is that lover Wesley tell her parents that she was brave when she died. Or possibly averted since in a very uncharacteristic move: he forgot.
- Later on Wesley's last request is for Illyria to shapeshift and pretend to be the deceased Fred, and it (she?) complies.
- In the last episode of Flight of the Conchords, the Imagine Spot song features three Russians played by Bret, Mel and her husband stranded on a small boat, with the Bret character continuously being asked for his Last Request before the others eat him. He keeps asking them to sing and dance in the hopes of exhausting them too much to do it. It doesn't work.
- One episode of Reno 911! featured a injured and bleeding Junior being held by the new recruit while they await an ambulance. He seems like he's dying so she agrees to sleep with him if he pulls through. They keep talking and realize they are, in fact, cousins. As the ambulance arrives, Junior hops to his feet (not nearly as injured as he was leading on) and she finds herself shocked and disgusted that he intends to hold her to agreeing to have sex with him.
- In Tin Man, the Mystic Man's direct order to Cain to protect DG "at any cost" becomes this.
- The Twilight Zone TOS episode "The Obsolete Man". The title character is about to be executed by the State for having an obsolete job: being a librarian. He is allowed to choose the method of his execution, which he takes advantage of to show how cowardly and weak the State is.
- More than one episode of Get Smart had Agent 99 get the better of her captor by way of a seemingly innocent last request. Eventually, a defeated Siegfried declared, "From now on, no more last requests!"
- On Las Vegas Cooper and Piper's Backstory involves her father, his best friend and war buddy, requesting him to look after his recently-born daughter (Piper) just before he died in the conflict they were involved in.
- On Torchwood, Ianto asks Jack not to forget him, and Jack tells him he never could. Still up in the air as to whether Jack keeps his promise.
- On The Vicar of Dibley, Letitia requests that Geraldine take over her role as the easter bunny, secretly delivering chocolate eggs to people on the night before Easter, dressed in a rabbit suit. On her way around the village, Geraldine is surprised to run into another easter bunny, quickly converses with him and arranges to do different parts of the village, before running into a veritable throng of people in rabbit suits whom Letitia has pulled one final prank upon.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine : In "Armageddon's Game", representatives of the T'Lani and Kellerun arrive in the abandoned town where O'Brien and Bashir are holed up, intending to kill them, as They Know Too Much about the harvester viruses. O'Brien has a request that's rather simple - let Bashir help him stand up, as he doesn't want to be shot lying down. (He's been infected with the virus, and is too weak to stand on his own.) They let him do so, and fortunately for them, this brief delay gives Sisko and Dax enough time to beam them to safety.
- In Into the Woods, Jack's Mother, right before dying, requests that the Baker protect Jack from the giant. And the Baker obliges to the best of his ability.
- Audrey gets one in Little Shop of Horrors. It proves to be a very dark variant, as her misguided dying wish ultimately dooms the human race to extinction. "Give me to the plant, so it can live to bring you all the wonderful things you deserve."
- In Mitsumete Knight, after you defeat Wolfgario the Ravager in Raizze's Route, he'll tell in his dying breath to his daughter Raizze, who witnessed the scene and tried in vain stand between them, to "live, as an ordinary woman". These last words later become crucial in convincing Raizze not to suicide after she's defeated by you in the duel she asked you for avenging her father.
- In Disgaea, the dying king asks Etna to raise his son to become the next overlord.
- After Taking the Bullet for Valvatorez in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, Fenrich begs Valvatorez to drink his blood despite his Heroic Vow so that he can regain his power as Tyrant. Valvatorez refuses... so Fenrich gives up on the whole "dying" act, annoyed, and admits he was just faking the whole thing in hopes that he could get Val to break that stupid promise of not drinking blood. The rest of the team is not amused.
- Governor Dorr of Palmacosta in Tales of Symphonia extracts a promise from you as he lies dying to save his transformed-into-a-monster wife and return her to human. You can say no, which affects Relationship Values in the party.
- In the finale of the Dark Brotherhood questline of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Emperor Titus Mede II asks you to consider killing the man who contracted the hit on him in the first place. It's more an optional objective than anything.
- Birdman episode "Meet Birdgirl". After Birdgirl captures him and imprisons him in darkness (which drains his power), Birdman makes a last request - to see the sun again. She agrees and takes him into the sunlight, where he recharges his power and escapes. She was far too trusting...
- In one Bugs Bunny short Bugs was given a right to a last request before his execution (It Makes Sense in Context). As he begins to voice it, the scene cuts, and we see him not only free, but setting up a minstrel band with the execution squad (said ending is usually cut these days.)
- Parodied in Venture Bros when Brock non-fatally stabs a Guild Henchman. The Henchman still thinks he's going to die and requests Brock sing to him the technotronic song "Move This".
- The Simpsons used this in "Cape Feare": to stall for time, Bart's last request to Sideshow Bob is to perform the entire score of HMS Pinafore. He does, and it works.
- In the Harley Quinn series, Harley combines this with Gallows Humor before attempting to use a device to get by the laser grid trap that just turned their mouse-commando-accomplice into Ludicrous Gibs, telling her crew, “Okay guys, you know, if my body gets diced up by lasers here, I dunno, do something fun with it, like mail my ear to a random family and say, ‘We have your daughter!’ you know, something like that.” (The lady has been judged criminally insane for a reason.) Fortunately, she manages to avoid the trap and survive.
- Mentioned on the Evil Overlord List as one of those things not to do. As in not letting the Heroes get one.
- On the 20th Century, Oscar pretends to be dying to get Lily to sign a contract.