Rasputinian Death

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Closedcasket 6269.jpg

He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn, and quartered. [...] There was a prophecy. Just before his head died, his last words were "Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back."

Ray Stantz, Ghostbusters 2

In Which a Trope Is Described multiple things happen to a character, any of which ought to be fatal. Eventually, one of them is.

There can be several reasons for this:

  1. The character is just that tough.
  2. The character is backed by the Powers of Evil.
  3. The first fatal thing that happens is relatively slow-acting, and knowledge of it leads them to do something drastic.
  4. Someone really hates them.
  5. It's the Only Way to Be Sure.
  6. It's funny.
  7. It's just awesome. (Might overlap with any of the previous reasons.)

Basically, it's one of the ways you can kill an Implacable Man or someone Made of Iron. In video games, this is often a Recurring Boss.

Related to a Self-Destructive Charge and to There Is No Kill Like Overkill (in this case, there is no kill besides overkill). Might be done because someone wants to Make Sure He's Dead. Sometimes the person actually does want to die, but screw it up so it becomes a Bungled Suicide.

The trope takes its name from a myth spread by Prince Felix Yusupov about the assassination of Grigori Rasputin in 1916. Ironically, Rasputin's Real Life death wasn't at all Rasputinian; the 1916 autopsy report (as discovered after the Cold War and reviewed by American and Russian doctors in 2002) shows that Rasputin was shot in the head with a .455 Webley and died instantly. But his killers wanted to portray him as a near-indestructible minion of Satan, so they made up an elaborate story about how he survived poison, beating, and bullet wounds only to drown in the Neva. Later embellishments by Yusupov (he thought up a new one every time he was short on money) even had Rasputin dying of hypothermia, having attempted to claw through the ice that covered him.

His death is also disputed, as without Rasputin, who would be Alan Moore?

The myth of Rasputin's death fulfills all five of the possible reasons listed above.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Rasputinian Death include:

Anime and Manga

  • Minor villain Byakko from Yu Yu Hakusho is impaled, explodes, falls off a tower, falls into a pit of lava, and is finally frozen and shattered by his teammate, ironically enough. His severed, iced head then complains for several minutes.

Kuwabara: Oh give me a break. How many times do I have to kill that guy?
Yusuke: Once would suffice.
Kuwabara: Shut up.

  • The berserked self-defense program of the Book of Darkness in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was sliced in half by a BFS, petrified, frozen in ice, blasted to bits by three Wave Motion Guns, jettisoned to space, and shot by a weapon that distorts time and space over an area before it was finally killed... temporarily. Reinforce had to delete herself together with its regeneration program to keep it dead.
  • Kazuo Kiriyama of Battle Royale got the shite beaten out of him by Hiroki (well, kinda) shot in the stomach with a shotgun, was in an exploded car (he got out of it first, but still), took a spearhead to the eye, was shot in the face, and finally died with a shot to the neck/chin.
  • Gauron in Full Metal Panic! survives being shot in the head, and having his Arm Slave blown up twice. The second time, what's left of his AS falls into the ocean (Where he is attacked by sharks), but in spite of that and a case of terminal cancer he turns back up again in The Second Raid, now quadriplegic but still alive. He apparently finally dies for real after Sousuke unloads a gun into him and the entire building he's in blows up, but considering his history, some fans still have doubts.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, this happens with the homunculi, although it is justified, as their Philosopher's Stone powers enable them to survive being killed repeatedly.
    • In the case of Lust it takes half a dozen bullets, a bomb blast, entirely destroying her body by ripping out her Stone, two dozen more bullets, and being set on fire over and over to finally kill her. Which, of course, set up Roy Mustang's Crowning Moment of Awesome line, "I'll just keep killing you until you die."
    • Bradley/Wrath got one, what with him still going strong after being on a train that exploded, getting run through, having an eye clawed out, getting shot, nearly drowning, nearly being set on fire and having his hands blasted off. He has now finally died of blood loss, but had enough time to give a dying speech first.
      • It should be noted that Wrath/Bradley is the only Homunculus without any healing powers, he's just that Badass
    • And Envy got his Philosopher's Stone destroyed, reducing him to a little fetus... fish... thing, ate a bunch of Cyclops soldiers to grow back to his full size, then got Colonel Mustang angry, which resulted in him getting his tongue burned out, having the water in his eyes boiled several times, and being lit on fire over and over and over. And Riza shot him about a dozen times, too. After Roy burninated him back to Fetus!Envy, he gets lectured by Ed and finally rips what's left of his Stone out, committing suicide. Sheesh.
    • Sloth got filled full of bullets, shot a couple of times by a tank, frozen solid, and defrosted none the worse for wear; the next encounter with him saw him being filled with even more bullets, stabbed and pummeled by Alex and Olivier Armstrong, tossed around like a ragdoll by Izumi and Sieg, and eventually dying with a smile on his face from charging into a bunch of giant spikes Armstrong had made grow out of the floor. Which he had done several times already before it took.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Scar suffers one, surviving losing both of his arms (and as a result, a great deal of blood), and takes two hails of bullets before dying.
      • The 2003 anime's version of Pride is paralyzed and then incinerated repeatedly by Mustang until his body runs out of red stones. Notably this happened in the anime's Gecko Ending long before Mustang fought Lust (and killed her in the same manner) in the manga.
  • Szilard Quates of Baccano!. Number of things he survives over the course of one night (most in rapid succession) before Firo finally "consumes" him: being shot dozens of times by gangsters; getting run over by his own car; being literally stabbed in the back by his disgruntled Battle Butler; getting set on fire; and having his arm sliced in two - the long way - by Firo. Okay, so he's Immortality, but props anyway for taking everything up until the fire in stride.
  • In One Piece, it takes 267 slashes and stabs, getting shot more than 562 times with bullets and 46 times with cannon balls, pierced by a laser, a mid-battle freezing, and having half of his face melted off on top of having previously refused medical attention prior to kill Whitebeard. And nothing of that would have happened had Whitebeard not been stabbed by one of his children the moment he decided he'd get in the fight.
  • In Naruto:
    • Zabuza Momochi is bitten by a half-dozen dogs, his arms rendered useless, and stabbed with an armory's worth of weapons during his run on Gato before giving a tender goodbye to his loyal companion Haku. Having accomplished his goals he died apparently because he didn't have anything else to be badass at doing.
    • Orochimaru has his arms devoured by the Shinigami, his transfer form torn to shreds by Sasuke, and finally gets stabbed by a sword that forces him into a permanent illusion when he reappears later. This doesn't even kill all of him, as he is still alive trying to take over Kabuto.
    • Kakuzu was stabbed through the heart twice and blown up with a jutsu that essentially killed him on a cellular level. And then Kakashi had to kill him again just to make sure. And now he's back thanks to the Impure World Resurrection by Kabuto.
    • Jiraiya gets an arm taken off by a surprise attack, is stabbed in the shoulder of his remaining arm, then gets his throat crushed and get stabbed by a half-dozen metallic bars, and dies... before willing himself back to life so he can send a message before finally drowning in a lake.
    • Kushina gave birth, got a bijuu released from her (which is supposed to kill her), chained down Kyuubi with her chakra, got her torso pierced by a giant claw, and after that she talked, and talked, and talked some more. Then she gets sealed in her son, where she lies dormant for several years.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Shishio survived being shot in the head, doused in oil and burned. And that was just his back story. In the final battle against him, he defeats Aoshi, Sanosuke and Saito, and almost kills Kenshin, though Kenshin recovers and continues to fight. In the end, Kenshin doesn't even defeat him. Technically, Shishio defeats himself by fighting for too long, overheating due to his sweat glands being destroyed when he was burned, and then finally bursting into flames.
  • In Guyver Guyot used up all of his energy, had his arm and the right side of his torso nearly severed, had his zoacrystal pulled out of his brain, got a quantum black hole blast through his heart, and fell over half a mile into an erupting volcano. And then it turns out he's still alive.
  • Filler Villain Maki Ichinose from Bleach got sliced in half, had his sword broken, thus rendering him powerless, and yet he shows up to fight Ichigo alongside Kariya. He then gets stabbed with his own broken sword, and then gets struck by lightning, by Kariya no less.
  • Implacable Man Roberto from Monster is shot in the shoulder and left for dead in a burning library. He drags himself out only after everyone else leaves, with his good arm paralyzed. When he next appears he's gotten into much better shape, and eventually gets into a fight with fellow Implacable Man Inspector Runge, where he's shot in the gut but still manages to get the better of the Inspector. Runge turns the tables by jamming his thumb into Roberto's bullet wound, causing him to pass out, but only briefly as he manages to stagger to where the final confrontation between Tenma and Johan is taking place before dying.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note is shot several times by Matsuda and runs into a warehouse where Ryuk puts his name in the titular Artifact of Doom, dying of a heart attack in the middle of the stairs. This symbolizes he doesn't go to Heaven nor Hell, just nothingness after death.

Comic Books

  • Rasputin pulls this yet again in the first volume of Hellboy, when he is harpooned through the chest and then incinerated and still doesn't go down completely until the titular big red guy crushes his still ranting and raving skull with his Right Hand of Doom. And even then his ghost comes back a few time to plot revenge against H.B. and friends.
  • Sin City has a bunch:
    • The Big Fat Kill - Manute had previously survived everything from being knocked out of a window, getting shot multiple times, stabbed by Miho, and getting an eye torn out by Marv. Even right before his death, he survives a close-range grenade with what appears to be minor burns. He eventually dies when Dwight and the Old Town girls unload on him and his minions to the point where they are nothing but "wet chunks of meat".
    • Marv survives jumping out of several story windows, fights against multiple lackeys, being tortured for a bit by the women of Old Town, being beaten by the serial killer in the barn, being run over at high speeds twice, and has several rounds of bullets fired into him, and he still doesn't die after that. He also does all of this without eating, drinking, or getting any sleep for literally days. It finally takes the electric chair itself to kill him, and even then they have to shock him twice.
      • Further proved by Marv's last words(before being shocked again): "Is that the best you can do, you pansies?"
    • His target Kevin survives having his arms and legs cut off and most of his organs eaten by a wolf yet still calmly breathes till Marv saws his head off.
    • In That Yellow Bastard, Junior Roarke is stabbed, gets his balls ripped off, and is beaten to the point where his head turns to mush. He was probably going to die from the stabbing alone but John Hartigan really didn't like the guy.
  • The Punisher:
    • In one arc, Frank Castle's fighting a mobster's insane muscular lackey. After trading punches (and shivs) with him, Frank tosses him out of a window, where he lands several stories down onto a spiked wrought iron fence, impaling him through the torso. Frank then jumps from the window and lands on the thug. Later, the thug (fence still jutting through him), stumbles towards Frank; who blasts him in the face with a shotgun. Even then, Frank has to mentally reassure himself that the next steps the guy takes are just reflexive.
When Frank later "meets" the lackey's sister, after gunning her down he makes a point of emptying the clip into her, just to make sure.
    • Even more ridiculous is Barracuda. Over the course of several fights, Frank stabs him, gouges his eye out, knocks out his teeth four times, cuts off the fingertips of his left hand, strangles him with barbed wire, shoots him point blank in the groin, chest, and face with a shotgun, tosses him into shark infested waters, blows him up with a claymore, fractures his skull with a wrench, bites off another one of his fingers, breaks his arm, bites a chunk out of his face, stabs him again, hooks up a car battery to his testicles for an hour and a half, shoots him with an M-60, breaks his nose, tears off said nose with pliers, cuts off his arm with an axe, shoots him in the throat and finally shoots his head to bits with an AK-47, then lights the bits on fire just to be sure.
    • Punisher himself spends about the entire Homeless arc dying. Still wounded from the Bullseye fight fights Elektra, getting stabbed and beaten. Then he is ambushed at his former home by the kingpin and gets despite getting shot about a dozen times he manages to kill the thugs and then fights the Kingpin, who flees into the city where Punisher follows him and executes him, then goes all the way back to his home and dies there. Keep in mind that he is also 65 years old and has been a vigilante for about 36 years, probably having been shot and wounded probably hundreds of times during that.
  • Spider-Man's clone, Ben Reilly. He takes a bad pumpkin bomb blast for Flash, then is impaled by a Goblin Glider, then falls off a multi-story building, onto a car, and still has it in him to give his Final Speech before degenerating.
  • The Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jiminy Christmas, but he was a doozy to take down, and then to make him stay down: First, he was assaulted by pretty much every last surviving hero from several universes (which did dick-all); the first one to get to him was Doctor Light, who hit him with the energy of a star after he had his power drained by Alex Luthor. Then, he was poisoned by Earth's wizards, who had magically altered his minions, the shadow demons, which he absorbed to replenish his power. Then, Superman hit him with a bunch of asteroids and a moon. When he came back for more, frickin' Darkseid blasted him using Alex as a conduit, which caused the Anti-Monitor to fall into a star. When he flew out again as a ball of plasma, still screaming bloody murder, Superman finally shattered him into smithereens.
    • He still came back, years later, in Green Lantern Comics... it seems he's simply an integral part of his evil universe, and will be reborn even when killed for real.
  • Darkseid in Final Crisis. First Batman shoots him with a god-killing weapon. Then Barry Allen and Wally West trick him into hitting himself with The Omega Beam. Then Black Racer destroys his body, Wonder Woman binds his essence, and it still takes Superman shouting the musical equivalent of the Multiverse and the Miracle Machine to take down what's left of him.
  • Among the many, many, many many character deaths in Marvel's ill-conceived Ultimatum is Wolverine's, first having almost all his soft tissue blasted away, then having his skeleton torn apart, then having the individual cells of his last remaining bones destroyed. Considering the many gruesome injuries he had previously recovered from, almost his entire life can be considered one long, extended Rasputin death scene.
  • The Russian in both mainstream Marvel continuity and Punisher Noir. The Noir version especially, surviving explosions, knife wounds, dozens of bullets, and more. He eventually dies after having his arm bitten off by an alligator and catching a slug right between the eyes, but before he goes he not only kills the offending beast, he brags to the Punisher about being invincible.
  • From That Other Wiki, the circumstances of Amos Fortune's death: "Professor Amos Fortune had half of his face blown off in Villains United #6, surviving only to be thrown from a moving helicopter in Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special before absorbing energy and exploding in JSA Classified #16."


  • Rasputin himself gets another Rasputinian Death in the 1997 Don Bluth animated musical Anastasia. After the Reliquary which is the source of his power is smashed, it releases an explosion of green energy then a ball of fire comes down from Heaven and smites the screaming Rasputin, melting his flesh. His still living skeleton then disintegrates into dust and blows away on the wind. You know, for kids.
  • Rasputin gets one in Hellboy, when he's stabbed through the abdomen with Hellboy's horn then a dark god tears its way of him, grows to an enormous size then flattens him and his girlfriend with its tentacle. Poor Rasputin's having a very eventful afterlife.
  • In Legend, the Lord of Darkness is stabbed through the heart with the horn of a unicorn, hit by concentrated rays of sunlight which is anathema to him, loses his arm and is sucked through a portal into oblivion. The end of the film implies that he has somehow survived.
  • Claudia Hoffman from Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Lilliana stabs Claudia's mirror which is the source of her power, causing the Vain Sorceress to rapidly age, before the mirror explodes, its shards lacerating the screaming Claudia who then catches fire and is finally crushed by falling debris.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies:
    • Boromir, made into a Human Pincushion. And in the movie, he kept fighting with the arrows still sticking outta him. Lampshaded in the directors' cut (and in the book), where Pippin tells Denethor that for most, the first arrow would be fatal.
    • Almost immediately thereafter, the Uruk-hai captain gets a knife thrown in his leg, his arm cut off, stabbed through the chest and decapitated.
    • Saruman from the films was stabbed in the back by Wormtongue, causing him to plummet from the top of his tower and be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on a water wheel, which then lowered him underwater. (But this is only in the director's cut). In the book, he was merely stabbed In the Back.
  • Possibly referencing Rasputin, Vigo the Carpathian (a.k.a. Vigo the Cruel/Despised/Torturer/Unholy/Butch) from Ghostbusters 2 was over 100 years old when he was.. well, see the page quote above. (To which Venkman could only reply, "Ouch!") And, as noted, his disembodied head still could give his Dying Words.
  • Chucky from Childs Play, most obviously during the climax of Child's Play 2. Pretty funny considering he's made of plastic and still manages to return every time...
  • Snatch:
    • Boris the Blade/The Bullet Dodger has the reputation of being simply impossible to kill. Here's what happens to him: first, he gets ambushed by three gangsters, beaten viciously, and thrown into the trunk of their car. Next, Boris is still in there while the vehicle is in a car accident. Then Boris crawls out and gets hit by a van at high speed. And after that Boris surprises everyone by showing up to a major shootout with an AK-47, only to have Bullet-Tooth Tony finally shoot him with the entire clip (plus one bullet from an earlier clip) from a Desert Eagle. At that point, Boris has finally had enough. (Also, note these events are not spread out, they happen one after another in a very short amount of time).
    • Tony himself is a subversion. His tough-guy credentials come from the fact that he survived getting shot six times in one sitting and still being strong enough to kill his attacker with a sword. However, a single stray bullet is enough to put him down. It's so random that the character who shot him doesn't even realize it at first.
  • In The Naked Gun, it appears that this happens to OJ Simpson at the beginning, but it turns out he lived. Later, Ricardo Montalban plummets to his doom, then is trampled by a marching band and run over by a steamroller. Earlier, the mind-controlled doctor gets one. While attempting to flee, he swerves his car into a truck transporting gas, escapes the explosion with half his car only to roll into a truck carrying huge missiles, escapes that explosion as well, ending up on the last missile that rolls into a nearby fireworks factory. Cue third explosion.
  • Mustafa from Austin Powers. He gets burned, shot, and then a second time. Its a Running Gag for the series how he loudly proclaims that he's not quite dead before being finished off. Also, Robin Swallows who is asked 'why won't you die?' by Austin himself after she is: stabbed, shot with a machine gun, shot with a bazooka, and then falls off a building (though if she really dies is uncertain). A deleted scene shows that Austin keeps her in his car trunk as a handy human shield.
  • Standard in the Terminator franchise:
    • In The Terminator, the titular villain gets shot countless times, hit by a semi truck, immolated in a fire, blown in half, and finally crushed by a hydraulic press.
    • In Terminator 2 he repeats as the hero, when he opens up with a bar brawl, goes face to face with the New and Improved T-1000, carves the skin off his own arm just to show off his metal skeleton, uses a 40mm grenade at point blank range to blow open a vault door, wades through More Dakka from a SWAT team, goes face to face with the T-1000 again (losing an arm and being stabbed through the torso this time), and still comes back for more.
    • The T-1000 in Terminator 2 also qualifies, especially the part where he's frozen in liquid nitrogen and shattered into a million pieces, only to come back for more not two minutes later. He then gets shot repeatedly with a shotgun, then with the aforementioned 40mm grenade launcher, then finally killed by being dropped into a vat of molten steel.
    • In Terminator 3, the Terminator gets to the extreme of a near decapitation (a few wires prevent it from falling).
  • Cyrus "The Virus" in Con Air gets stabbed in the foot, goes through a pedestrian flyover and falls in electricity cables before finally coming to a rest on a conveyor belt. He only dies after meeting the rock crusher at the end of it.
  • In Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of Macbeth, the title character takes at least 20 arrows to the chest and still tries to walk and fight, finally falling to an over-dramatic arrow through the neck.
  • In the Mad Max movies:
    • Wez, The Dragon from Mad Max 2, takes serious damage many times, including falling from a truck in high velocity, but only dies close to the end of the movie.
    • Auntie's Plucky Comic Relief in Beyond Thunderdome (Ironbar, played by Angry Anderson) also takes very long to die, and there's an almost totemic aspect to his survival. He's one of an apparently elite group who have a mask on a pole the rises from the back armor. He survives everything (including having the car he's in rammed by the train and explode, leaving him blackened and screaming on the cowcatcher)...until his mask is finally knocked off him, when he uses his dying strength to give Max the finger.
  • Donal Logue's vampire character in Blade only dies after being decapitated by the title hero. Before that he is impaled, burned, beaten, etc.
  • Blitzen's plan for Robbie in claymation Hooves of Fire:

Blitzen: Let's trample him into dust, then throw the remains of the dust to the wolves, then blow up the wolves.
Prancer: You don't like him very much, don't you?
Blitzen: Not particularly, no.

  • In Willow, General Kael. Madmartigan smashes his skull-mask, and Kael chases Madmartigan up a flight of stairs. Madmartigan stabs him in the chest; Kael responds by punching Madmartigan in the face and trying to strangle him. Madmartigan slashes Kael's belly, then twists the blade still in his chest. Kael does not appear to notice. Madmartigan impales him on his own sword. Kael is still on his feet when Madmartigan finally shoves him off the walkway.
  • In GoldenEye, James Bond throws Trevelyan hundreds of feet off of a huge platform. Then an antenna cradle falls on top of him and explodes. (Bonus: Trevelyan was played by Boromir.)
  • This is the premise of Crank. The entire movie's essentially his one-day Rasputinian Death, compressed into about an hour and a half. Even after falling from an airplane, he lives, making The Sequel possible. And then, he burns alive after recharging himself on a high voltage power line, gets his normal heart back inside him, which stops, and then starts again, ending the credits with him opening his eyes... again!
  • Amilyn the Vampire in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), begins to grunt and flail in an over the top mocking "death" scene when staked. Continues to grunt and flail for a minute, realises that the Slayer and his master are watching him, with disapproving looks. At the end of the film, now that his master is apparently dead and the Slayer is long gone, he opens his eyes again and starts doing his fake "death" scene again. "Death" groans continue throughout the credits.
  • Memnon in The Scorpion King also dies like this. He is pierced by an arrow, thrown from the top of a building and set on fire during the fall.
  • The creators of The Godfather film decided that Sonny had acquired a "Rasputin-like mystique." His assassins decide that There Is No Kill Like Overkill, and fill his car with machine gun fire, then take him down in a hail of bullets as he staggers from it.
  • After going insane, Bell from the Trey Parker/Matt Stone film Cannibal! The Musical suffers a top notch Rasputinian Death, starting with getting a butcher's ax in the face, (including through one eye) getting shot in the head, a sharpened stick through his other eye, and finally a pickax through the heart. Each time he appears to die like a Slasher Movie monster, only to come back again, including at the main character's hanging, which occurs years later.
  • Valentine from Poseidon (2006) immediately comes to mind. After dropping an already lethal distance from an elevator shaft, he falls into large impaling spikes. The elevator itself follows soon afterwards, crushing him and also somehow resulting in a very large Hollywood style explosion. Plus, the ship sinks into the ocean at the end. The scene can be seen here.
  • What happens to the teacher in Final Destination is a textbook example. An exploding computer monitor drives shards of glass into her throat, a trail of fire starts heading towards her down the trail of dripped vodka from her mug, and her attempt to pull down a towel drops a butcher-block full on knives into her chest. When the protagonist comes in to try to save her, to add insult to injury, a bookcase falls and drives the knife deeper into her chest. And then her house explodes.
  • Hades, the mutant leader from the 2007 film The Hills Have Eyes 2 is shot, impaled, brutally beaten, has chunks of his brain ripped out and only dies after getting a bayonet through the mouth (after another beatdown).
  • Urban Legend: Bloody Mary features a pretty disgusting version of the trope, with a character named Heather popping a pimple on her face, releasing the spiders inside it, which start swarming over her. Trying to get the things off Heather accidentally smashes her face through a mirror, leaving a big shard of glass embedded in her forehead. Somehow still alive Heather actually starts ripping her own face off, finally dying about halfway through removing it. Also, as all this is going on the spiders just keep coming, eventually covering most of the room.
  • Ajax from Troy takes two spears to the gut, keeps fighting, and isn't brought down until Hector stabs him with a sword. And he still gets another brutal blow in before falling.
  • Lust, Caution: The idealistic students gang up on a traitor who was threatening to blackmail them. They stab him repeatedly, but he still manages to walk out, so they have to snap his neck. The heroine is so shaken up she splits on the spot.
  • Scarface: Tony takes an improbable number of bullets to the torso and isn't even fazed, but this might be explained by the fact that he had his face buried in a mountain of coke just before. It takes a shotgun blast at close range and a fall off a balcony to finally kill him.
  • Adolf Hitler in Inglourious Basterds. Explosives? Check. Fire? Check. Chunky Salsa Rule applied by machine gun fire?! This gent won't be in any sequels, that's for sure.
  • The Party opens with Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi's character dying during a shoot out scene. He takes so long to get through his death throes that the other actors end up ignoring each other and shooting at him instead. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In The Movie of Dead Like Me, Cameron gets this treatment. As a reaper with powerful regenerative abilities, the group has to restrain him, dismember him, burn the body parts, and load the ashes into a capsule that is subsequently launched into space.
  • The older brother in the Korean war epic Taegukgi ends up taking on what seems like the entire North Korean army by himself. This is after he is viciously beaten to a pulp by his own brother. His opponents take no chances and literally drown him in gunfire.
  • Kim Sun-Woo, the main character of A Bittersweet Life, is beaten by three men with clubs, gets hanged and punched in the stomach, has his hand broken by a wrench, gets buried alive, gets stabbed in the gut at least six consecutive times, has his ear shot off, and takes three rounds of machine gun fire to the chest. This subdues him, to be sure. But he doesn't die until a merciful gunman shoots him in the head.
  • Like the movie it's based on, The Good, the Bad, the Weird ends with a three-way Mexican Standoff. Unlike the original, in which the Mexican Standoff is resolved with one shot, all three main characters shoot one another over and over, slowly fall to the ground, then shoot each other another sixteen times or so for good measure, while lying down. Whether or not this is a Kill'Em All depends on which of the six endings you're watching.
  • Parodied unto absurdum in the Broken Lizard film Club Dread, to the point that the final shot features the killer's disembodied legs swimming after the survivors.
  • The villain from Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain takes a good long while to go down, including spending most of the climactic fight with a butcher knife sticking out of his chest. Hitchcock's main goal with the film was to show how hard it could really be to kill someone.
  • The second Kamen Rider Decade movie (well, third if you count the Den-O crossover) gives us Doras, a Kamen Rider ZO monster resurrected by the villains, apparently for the simple purpose of finally killing this guy. He's brought down by twelve different Kamen Riders, ten of whom were in their Super Modes, hitting him with finishers, the last being Complete Form Decade's Rider Kick.
  • In What Lies Beneath, it takes nearly ten minutes for Claire to drown Norman. Every previous attempt she made to kill him failed.
  • Buddy in Six-String Samurai goes through about three separate sword fights in rapid succession, taking wounds that really ought to be fatal in each of them, before finally succumbing to Death.
  • In Return of the Living Dead, the medical cadaver zombie. The characters are Genre Savvy so they immediately brain it with a pick axe...which doesn't kill it. Then they saw off its head with a hack saw...which doesn't kill it...Then they slice it up into small individual pieces...which doesn't kill it. They finally have to cremate it just to get rid of it.
  • In a hilarious Non Sequitur Scene from Me Myself and Irene, Charlie and Irene come across a cow that's been hit by a car. Charlie shoots it multiple times to put it out of its misery, but the cow keeps raising its head and mooing. He pistol whips, strangles, and smothers the poor animal before it stops moving. The cow is shown alive during the credits.
  • Although he eventually becomes a superpowered zombie, Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees is a mortal man up until Part VI of his franchise (although he wasn't the killer in parts 1 and 5). He drowns, gets stabbed through the chest, takes an axe to the skull, and finally gets his head entirely impaled with a machete. And even then he twitches, causing Tommy Jarvis to stab him about a dozen more times.
  • Zeiram:
    • In its debut film, the title character demonstrates its notorious "immortality", first by having its chest blown out with a rocket launcher, only for its skeletal system to rip out of its ruined body and continue to move on its own. It continues to scuttle after the protagonists, even through several point blank grenade blasts, only so much as losing an arm when one is strapped directly to its rib cage. It continues to press on until it takes a point blank shot from a BFG, obliterating the skeleton... and leaving the head to fly around and grow an entirely new body minutes later. Finally, its primary head is shot to bits, and it dies... at least until the sequel.
    • In the sequel, Zeiram gets a sword through the forehead and its arm cut off, and heals up just fine. It then has a grenade stuffed under one of its breastplates, semi-crippling it. The heroine then shoots at it repeatedly until its limbs are severed and its mechanical head is obliterated. Its central head pops out, and gets shot off as well... just in time for the remaining portion to try and reform itself.
  • In The Quick and the Dead, Spotted Horse, who constantly brags that he "cannot be killed by a bullet," is proved right: he gets shot clean through the heart, gets back up, fires off several shots while his opponent reloads, takes a second shot to the forehead, then starts to get back up again before finally dying for real.
  • Undercover Brother. Mr. Feather is dropped out of a helicopter over the ocean. Just before he hits the water (after falling hundreds of feet, the impact alone of which would've killed him instantly) a great white shark leaps out of the water and eats him.
  • In Battle: Los Angeles, the first alien actually killed on-screen is given one of these. First it gets shot up by Lenihan, and falls into a pool. Then when Nantz and two other Marines arrive, the alien leaps back out of the pool, and gets drilled by all four Marines at point-blank range with about a hundred bullets before it drops back down into the pool. One of the Marines drops a grenade in the pool for good measure.
  • Annie Wilkes in Misery takes a bit to go down...
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this is the best way to describe the death of Shockwave. He takes concentrated fire from NEST and all the Autobots, badly damaging him and leaving his eye hanging out. He still has the power to fight, even when Optimus then punches half of his side off. It takes Optimus ripping his head apart and tearing out his eye to finally kill him.
  • In the film adaptation of V for Vendetta, the titular character is shot repeatedly at close range by half a dozen gunmen and an old man with a revolver. After staggering briefly, he then goes on to deliver a short speech on ideals, kill every single gunman with short swords before they can reload, lift the old man off his feet and strangle him to death and then pass on his legacy to his apprentice before finally expiring without anyone ever knowing who he was.
  • In Ghostbusters II, the team recounts the death of Vigo the Carpathian:

Egon: Vigo the Carpathian. Born 1505, died 1610.
Peter Venkman: 105 years old, he hung in there, didn't he?
Ray: He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.
Peter Venkman: Ouch.

  • In Halloween Ends, Michael Meyers' legs are crushed, he is stabbed multiple times in the chest, his throat and wrists are slit, his arms are broken, and finally, what's left of him is mulched by a car shredder. It seems finally the dreaded killer of this franchise has (as the title infers) been Killed Off For Real.


  • The movie version of The Lord of the Rings was Boromir's less bad-ass last dance. In the book, Aragorn never arrived to "save" him: Boromir defeated dozens of Uruk-hai on his own before going down, with many of them shooting at him instead of just one. And there are none left standing by the time Aragorn and the others reach him. Of course, the actual scene isn't written; we just see the aftermath. Fits the trope even more in that Boromir's shield and sword were broken to pieces by the time the fight ended, indicating truly brutal melee combat amidst being shot full of arrows.
    • The animated version is this trope plays it straight like the book,except we can see it happen. Four arrows land in his chest and he just pulls them out and hacks away until the exact same thing happens,by the end he is bleeding all over and pinned to the tree by the arrows
  • In Harry Potter, Dumbledore has been dying of curses put on the Peverell ring throughout the entire book. He then ingests a bowl of magical torture-poison that must be consumed to stay removed in order to get at a Horcrux. Before either of these things can kill him, Snape does upon Dumbledore's own request: he uses an Avada Kedavra which lifts Dumbledore's body off the North Tower and sends him crashing to the ground below. If the curse hadn't killed him, then the fall certainly would have. In spite of this, many fans were at first adamant that he had survived.
  • Arhys in Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls is actually dead when the book starts, but doesn't realize it (he's being sustained by magic being done by his young wife). The climax involves him riding out on a suicidal mission sustained by an amped-up version of the same spell, over the course of which he suffers several more fatal wounds and is eventually chopped to pieces.
  • One standard version of vampire lore (dating back at least to Dracula) says that, to kill a vampire, you need to stake him through the heart and chop his head off (not to mention filling his mouth with garlic/holy wafers). And sometimes burn the body to ashes and toss said ashes into a fast-flowing river. And in at least one version of the lore, even when all the steps are taken it wasn't really dead. A drop of blood on the ashes would reform it—stopped only by the fact that the ashes are scattered too widely.
  • Discworld:
    • Pratchett's vampires seem to follow the rules listed above, although to different degrees depending on the vampire. This is because on the Discworld every single vampire cliché is true, but any single cliché does not necessarily apply to any one vampire, so anyone trying to kill them has to try several different ways to make sure they actually die. Vampires eventually start carrying easily broken vials of blood so they'll smash and bring them back if they're dusted, which for the ones sensitive to light as well is fairly often (especially if they work as photographers).
He has serious fun with this in Carpe Jugulum, where various subtypes of vampire have increasingly silly requirements for true death, starting at the weirdest end of the real life myths and going from there, including mention of a vampire who wouldn't die until carrots got hammered in its ears! The protagonists muse about just how much trial and error it must have taken to get it right.
  • In The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, it takes cancer, a heroin overdose, and falling six stories to finally kill Zenia. Even then it's debatable—Zenia's defining trait is her ability to convince people of things that aren't remotely true, and she'd already faked her own death once by the beginning of the book.
  • Sven Hassel's WW2 novels. Whenever Porta and his gang from the 27th Penal Regiment decide to murder someone, there inevitably follows an entire chapter of bungled attempts which end in the victim either dying by accident or just going insane.
  • In BattleTech, specifically Mechwarrior: Dark Age, Victor Steiner-Davion faces down the Clans and wins, fights a brutal civil war against his sister and claims victory while personally leading the charge, survives the Jihad, becomes a Paladin of the Sphere, and is finally snuffed by no less than four assassins in the dead of night. At the ripe old age of 107, he takes two with him.
  • In Angela's Ashes, the main character is reading about saints and decides that his favorite is St. Christina the Astonishing because she "takes ages to die".
  • Patroclus, in The Iliad, is slapped and unarmed by Apollo, stabbed in the chest by Eupharlus, finally finished off by Hector, and still lives long enough to hear Hector's "The Reason You Suck" Speech and respond with his own Final Speech.
  • Word of God has it that historical Necromancer Big Bad Kemmler suffered one of these in the backstory of The Dresden Files: In addition to magical swords, there were "guns, axes, shovels, ropes, a flamethrower, and a number of other extremes." This is after a fight with every combat-competent wizard in the world. After they killed him once, decades earlier, and it didn't stick.
  • Jim Butcher also gives us Invidia Aquitaine Nihilus Invidia's death in the Codex Alera: She was shot with a ballast bolt, one of which can go through two heavily armored legionaries. The ballast bolt was poisoned with two different kinds of poison: One that kills immediately and one that causes a nearly-incurable long-term infection in the wound. She was declared dead by a doctor, but her body disappeared; she'd watercrafted herself to the point where she could move despite being mortally wounded. She mentions, later, that the crows had come for her. She was found by the Vord Queen, who stuck a great big Vord parasite on her as life support. She acted as The Dragon for a while, then came up against her (ex-)husband Attis; she sliced him in half, but he burned most of her face and a good bit of her body off. A bit later, she gets into a fight with a bunch of the High Lords... and dies from being literally stabbed in the back by Amara.
  • In Oleg Divov's Night Watcher, the Big Bad ends up being delimbed, partly encased in cement, hit in the face with a shovel several times and finally injected with (lethal, to him and his kind) silver. The main character actually sort of pities him, despite the fact that he (the Big Bad) is literally a Complete Monster.
  • First Mate Cox in Nation takes an axe to the chest (blood loss, probable major organ damage), falls into a lagoon (drowning) and ultimately gets eaten by sharks.
  • Take your pick of any of the sorcerers in the Black Company novels by Glen Cook. The Limper had a building collapsed on him, shot several times by a ballista, shot full of magical arrows, beheaded, burned, and cooked in a giant pot. To make sure he never came back (again), his enemies pushed his remains into another dimension. The Dominator was buried alive, shot with magic arrows, stabbed countless times, then burned. Shadowspinner was also shot with ballista bolts then impaled on a spear and took around a day to die (and that spear was poisoned). Another case in these books was a magical wereleopard called the "forvalvaka". One fought in a battle survived that and was crucified and took days to die with some magical help. Another one of the forvalvaka took 30 or so people shooting it with poisoned crossbow bolts, and magical fireballs, plus being stabbed with a magical spear, before it died.
  • In Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple's contribution to the anthology The Dragon Book, The Tsar's Dragons, this happens to Rasputin, naturally. It is his Real Life death, with the only exceptions being: 1) he was pushed under the ice by dragons and 2) he had a magic charm that stopped the other attempts from killing him. Presumably because that man was stupid hard to kill.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy gives us: "You barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny it's got! I'll have you hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And boiled...until...until...until you've had enough! And then I will do it again! And when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will jump on them! And I will carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything even more unpleasant to do..."

Live Action TV

  • Lost:
    • Mikhail "Patchy" Bakunin, from the third season, is zapped by the sonar fence, only to come back a few episodes later. In the finale, he is shot in the chest with a harpoon gun, then comes back to life minutes later, only to die while blowing open an underwater window with a grenade.
    • Martin Keamy, the main villain of season four, as well. He is shot in the back four times, stabbed in the back once, and only dies after being stabbed repeatedly in the heart.
    • Juliet is trapped by heavy chains, falls hundreds of feet down a shaft, detonates (or not) a nuclear bomb right next to her... and only dies in the next episode.
  • Lorenzo "Happy" Morales from the CSI episode "Ending Happy". To elaborate: a drugged-up ex-boxer is fed seafood to which he is allergic, causing his throat to close up. He's then shot through the throat with a crossbow, allowing him to breathe again. He goes to attack someone, who hits him with a crowbar (hard enough to leave an impression). He's later injected with snake venom, and staggers off to rest on a chair by a swimming pool. The chair collapses under his weight and drops him into the pool, wherein he finally drowns.
The entire episode basically consists of Your Princess Is in Another Castle as each suspect is cleared of actually landing the killing blow and ends with Doc Robbins sighing as he lists the various "mitigating factors" in his report.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy", the "Six-Way Killer" kills the same man six different ways. It was nothing personal. He was trying to distract attention from another murder.
  • On Soap, Peter Campbell was killed this way—stabbed, shot, strangled, suffocated and bludgeoned.
  • In the Firefly episode "War Stories," the death of Niska's torturer. He gets beaten up by Mal, shot several dozen times by Jayne, Wash, and Zoe, knocked off a railing, bounces very painfully off a steel girder, hits another girder, then gets sliced in half by a giant drill-saw, and then gets dumped into a pit of something very glowy and unhealthy-looking. We're fairly certain he's dead.
  • This even happens once in Monty Python's Flying Circus. Graham Chapman, dressed as a Mandarin and speaking with a bizarre Chinese accent, declares himself to be the new English consul in Smolensk; his predecessor "had a heart attack, then fell out of a window onto an exploding bomb and died in a shooting accident."
  • Parodied in a sketch in British Comedy show The Two Ronnies. The sketch is a court room game show in which the defendant is accused of murder. When asked about the particulars of the crimes he responds that the victim was poisoned, strangled, shot 10 times in the back and stabbed fifteen times in the chest and that the conclusion of the police upon finding the body was that "he was dead".
  • In the Grand Finale movie of Kamen Rider Decade, it takes a grand total of twelve simultaneous Finishing Moves (ten of which are performed by protagonist Riders in their respective Super Modes) to destroy Doras.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Dischordia's death. It takes the finishers of Ninjor, the Shogun Megafalconzord, and the Shogun Ultrazord to kill her.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury had some very complex, multiple-strike finishers consisting of several finishing-class attacks that seemed just overkill on the poor monster. One of them consists of each attack knocking the monster back into the air in order to be hit by the next, over and over, with warmup humiliation before the Megazord arrives for its super punch attack, and more individual Zord finishers after. Mind you, the only one to receive its maximum fury was the strongest Phantom Beast General, who'd proven Nigh Invulnerable all episode. And as there were two episodes to go in the season, he survived even all that. Still, you had to feel sorry for the Monster of the Week types who got to eat at least most of it.
  • Akudos Gil, the final boss of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, takes an even worse beating than Doras. The complete rundown:
  • The Body of the Week of the Castle episode "Pandora" was found shot, stabbed, strangled, and with a pencil shoved into the side of his neck, before having been thrown out of a fourth floor window to the ground below. Quoth Castle, seeing the body: "Gives new meaning to the term, 'overkill.'"
  • The finale to the first season of Blackadder, Prince Edmund is strapped to a device that will have "..a spike will go up your nethers... shears will cut off your ears... axes will chop off your hands... the coddling grinder... Then these feathers will tickle you under what's left of your arms." Though he actually survives the ordeal and does not die (immediately) from these wounds.
  • In the Sliders episode The Exodus, Professor Arturo has his brain fluid sucked out, is shot, and then is finally left behind on a planet which subsequently explodes. Apparently the actor portraying him didn't get along well with the producers.


  • Boney M's Disco song, Rasputin, mentions his end. Unfortunately it does not mention that he died of drowning, ending with Rasputin merely being shot 'till he was dead.

Rah, Rah, Rasputin
Lover of the Russian Queen!
They put some poison into his wine!
Rah, Rah, Rasputin
Russia's greatest Love Machine!
He drank it all and said, "I feel fine!"



  • Hercules (or Heracles before Romans) suffered such a fate, likely as there was no real other way to kill somebody like him. He donned a garment contaminated with the poisoned blood of the Lernaean Hydra; for anyone else it would have proved fatal but instead Hercules suffered excruciating agony as it tore apart his body. Even as skin peeled from bone, he managed to build himself a funeral pyre by tearing down trees and ordered his companions to set him ablaze. Apparently being burned alive hurt less than the poison. Just as a general idea of how horrifically painful and potent the blood of the Hydra is: when one of Hercules' poisoned arrows nicked the centaur Chiron, it left the immortal writhing in agony (because the poison couldn't actually kill him) and begging Hercules to end his life.
  • Ajax the Lesser, a "hero" (today we'd probably call him a war criminal) from The Trojan War, died this way too. Good riddance. Poor Cassandra...
  • In the Kalevala, Untamo tries to murder Kullervo, a young boy, without much success. First, Kullervo is put inside a barrel which is thrown into the ocean, but when Untamo returns three days later, he finds Kullervo alive, fishing. Next, Untamo orders the construction of a pyre and attempts to burn Kullervo - the pyre burns for several days without Kullervo getting hurt at all. Untamo attempts to hang Kullervo, but Kullervo survives this as well.
  • English folklore states that a wizard must be killed three times before they die for good. Prescribed methods are generally stabbing, impaling, and then drowning.
    • This myth is invoked with the death of Saruman in the film of The Lord of the Rings (stabbed, impaled on a spiked wheel, drowned), and possibly with Dumbledore in Harry Potter book 6 (cursed, poisoned, hit with a killing curse, fallen off a tower).
    • Likewise, Sauron and Gandalf are really hard to kill. Sauron got thrashed by a divine hound in The Silmarillion, then later drowned in the Fall of Numenor, and even later was physically slain by Isildur. He didn't die for good until his Ring got dropped into Mount Doom 3,000 years later. Gandalf, for his part, survived a three-round duel with a Balrog, including a long fall, the Balrog's flames, and freezing deep water, and still wouldn't die until he chased the demon from the bottom of the earth to the highest mountain peak, and killed it. Then he collapsed of exhaustion ... but got sent back to finish his job.
  • As with wizards above, some folklores have it that vampires must be killed multiple times for it to stick. To start with, you behead the corpse and stake it to the coffin so that it can't rise. If you want to go the extra mile, you can bury it under a crossroads (the idea is that the traffic keeps the ground compacted, plus the bonus effect of being buried in a cross) or burn it.

Tabletop Games

  • In Ars Magica Gruagachan have the power to remove their souls from their bodies and hide them in small objects. Mechanically, this results in them suffering Warping in place of Fatal or Incapacitating Wounds. Certain Infernalists (with access to Incantation and Consumption) have access to a spell that has a similar effect.
  • Zapathasura, the antediluvian founder of the Ravnos clan in Vampire: The Masquerade. When White Wolf killed him off as part of ending the Old World of Darkness, his death came about from first fighting a trio of elder vampires for three days and three nights, having a magically boosted nuclear bomb dropped on him and then finally by being exposed to super-focused sunlight beamed directly at him through satellites controlled by the Ancient Conspiracy. And even then it took several hours of direct exposure (most vampires wouldn't last more than a few seconds) to do him in. It should also be noted that he was the weakest of the thirteen antediluvians.
  • In the Operation: Rimfire Mekton adventure, Lord Dremmond's death scene description is, and I quote: "Tough as nails, he gets one dying speech" (followed by a twenty-seven lines such speech) before any PC can finish him off. That would be not a Rasputinian Death but a vanilla Final Speech, were not his death in the middle of a frantic close-quarters battle with the whole Rimfire flight crew gang-banging him with all sort of weapons, including lightsabers, in an alien spaceship full of monsters about to be psychically awakened by him—which really gives the PCs no reason at all to cease fire until well after he is Deader Than Dead. Which every group of players, routinely, does. After that, he detonates a hard-radiation nuke. And survives.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, and more generally in games that use a hit point mechanic, high-level characters often survive a series of horrific traumas any one of which should be fatal - anything from being dropped off a 200-foot cliff, to being squashed by a falling block of stone, to being eaten by an enormous monster.
    • Just as one example, going by the rules as written: It's possible for a character to fall from orbit, with no special protective equipment (or any equipment at all, actually), land on the ground, and pick himself up and walk away, bruised and probably not feeling so great, but still completely able-bodied. Assuming minimum damage is rolled, this is technically possible at level 1. Though there is an inversion of sorts, especially early on, noted as the "Massive Damage" rule. If you hit a single enemy with one attack for fifty or more hit points of damage, the victim must make a roll to save versus Instant Death.
    • The tarrasque can be slain only by inflicting enough damage to kill it (despite its extreme regeneration and epic DR), then using a Wish or Miracle spell (essentially, invoking a Deus Ex Machina) to make it stay dead. Even nuking its corpse doesn't work, because it will revive inside a week without the Wish.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle:
    • The backstory for Dogs of War character Borgio the Besieger survived several increasingly over the top attempts on his life, eventually being killed in the bath with a toasting fork.
    • An even more outrageous rasputinian death was Vlad von Carstein. He survived being chopped up with his own magical sword, being impaled on a dozen lances and being decapitated by a lucky cannon shot. His eventual demise only occurred after the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar threw himself and Vlad off the battlements in the siege of Altdorf, landing on a moat of sharpened stakes. Even then, Vlad only dies because Manfred stole his reincarnation ring. Otherwise he probably would have just shoved the Grand Theogonist off of him and continued fighting.
  • Any GURPS character with Supernatural Durability can theoretically take an any amount of punishment before dying. Short of a weapon that vaporizes them in a single hit only one method (e.g. a metal spike through the heart) can ever actually kill them.
  • Many heroic characters in Warhammer 40,000 can take unbelievable amounts of punishment. Especially characters with the "Eternal Warrior" trait, which makes them immune to the Chunky Salsa Rule.
    • Marneus Calgar, Mary Sue Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, can take at least four hits from heavy artillery before going down.
    • Commmissar Yarrick has a rule where if he loses his last wound, he has a 2/3 chance of getting up again the next round. As opposed to every other 40K example, he's but a humble guardsman (meaning he's an unmodified Human) pushing into his early 80's/late 70's. He's able to shrug off a hit that would permanently put down Marneus Calgar, the guy with a rule called God of War, and the Avatar of Khaine, the Embodiment of an actual God of War. And all of this is supposedly through sheer determination and nothing else.
    • Old One Eye has a similar rule. It's the most powerful in third edition, where he automatically regenerates one wound per turn (as oppose on a 4+ on a D6) and could stand back up if he was killed. He is drastically toned down for the new release.
    • St. Celestine is supposed to have died dozens of times before finally being nuked. In game terms she can stand back up within a couple of turns.
    • Many newer characters possess a version of this rule. One of the first outside of Celestine was Chaplain Grimaldus of the Black Templars, although he had to pass a leadership test each turn or his will gave out and he would collapse. Justicar Anval Thawn takes it to the extreme, being able to come back from anything in the game and can continuously test for it even if he fails the first time around. This is very useful as, unlike the other examples, Thawn can claim objectives and so is a bane to the opponent during Objectives games.
    • Possibly the very, very best version of this is the old 3rd edition version of the Fallen Dark Angel Cypher, who has a god looking out for him. When he loses his last wound and fails his armour save, Cypher gets a 4+ invulnerable save... On a 3d6. It will only fail on the roll of three 1s, a 1/216 event. The remaining 215 times he simply vanishes, still alive and kicking, and the other side gets no victory points for killing him. It doesn't matter what you throw onto him; the odds of it actually doing something to Cypher is very low indeed. By the lore, Cypher has survived at least one Exterminatus (killing every last living organism on an entire planet) and vanished tracelessly from a cell in a Black Templar battle barge.
  • In Malifaux this is what many people ascribe to Leviticus, except he turns up later alive. Subverted however because Leviticus really does die every time he claims its Only a Flesh Wound; missed his heart/the body can stand to lose that much blood/intestinal removal isn't fatal. This is because he's somewhat worked out the secret to eternal life, specifically eternal respawning. In game terms he will die every other turn, and reappear at the end of the turn he died. He can be permanently killed but it requires a lot of work to setup.


  • Claudius in Hamlet gets stabbed with a poisoned sword and then forcibly fed poisoned wine. In the Branagh adaptation, a Falling Chandelier of Doom also lands on him.
  • Clarence from Richard III is another Shakespearean example: He's stabbed several times before being drowned in a barrel of wine.
  • Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman constantly tries to kill himself by intentionally crashing his car and sucking on a gas pipe, but he always survives. He eventually succeeds with one last car crash.

Video Games

  • Luca Blight from Suikoden II. Took two armies; yours and his own conspiring against him; then riddled with arrows (killing his horse), fought three times (by three different combat parties), riddled with arrows, riddled with arrows again, and then fought in a duel. Only then does he die. He is probably the most shining example of #1.
  • In Saints Row 2, Sunshine is a lieutenant of the Samedis, and the boss of the 3rd St. Saints (your gang and your character) fights him. After beating him, he gets up after being shot. The boss shoots him again. Then Sunshine gets back up, which results in Boss saying "JUST DIE ALREADY." and unloading a pistol clip on Sunshine, then cutting off the head to make sure the fucker is dead.
  • From Metal Gear Solid:
    • Liquid Snake crashed a burning helicopter, got shot in the face with a bunch of Stinger missiles, had a giant walking tank explode around him, fell several stories from the top of the wreckage, was riddled with hundreds of bullets from a machine-gun turret, crashed and flipped over his Jeep, and finally died when a genetically tailored disease stopped his heart (either instantly or for several minutes, depending on whether one is talking about the original or the remake). And he still LIVES ON, through this ARM!
    • Let's not forget Vamp.
    • Oh, and Big Boss: Had the crap beaten out of him by a professional boxer with super powers and enough strength to punch through concrete walls, electrically tortured by said boxer, then his eye was shot out, he fell down a waterfall into a river, where he nearly drowned, and later took on the boxer again, said boxer riding a nuclear tank, and his own mentor. 6 years later, he survives being caught within ground zero of the ignition launch sequence of the rocket booster of the ICBMG. Four years after that, Big Boss then managed to survive being electrically tortured at least nine times, three of the shocks even being significantly heightened in frequency. 31 years later, he faces his son in combat, taking several missiles to the face, before a nuke detonates his own fortress. He survives, rumoured to be a quadruple amputee, and is burned to death a few year later. MGS4 elaborates his past: he survived in a coma, went through surgery to replace about 50% of his body, and was in perfect working order only a few days later.
Then, at the end of the fourth game, he shows up again, perfectly healthy. He's just that awesome. Then he dies of FOXDIE, but manages to endure before expiring in 15 minutes, despite being in pain from a viral-induced heart attack.
  • Zagi in Tales of Vesperia. Granted, Yuri and Estelle don't really do that much more than fend him off the first time he's encountered, but the second time he fights the party, he's thrown off a boat, jumps back on, then is left on when it explodes. Amazingly, he survived to interrupt the finals of a tournament to get at Yuri and show off his new mechanical arm. After overloading the Blastia with magic, his arm basically overloads and explodes. Then he shows up again for another round to destroy Yuri's party at the warship, and literally sprays himself with poison perfume to kill Yuri. He appears to finally die after he gets thrown off of another boat several times after he tries to get Yuri. Amazingly, Zagi survives yet again and makes it into the final dungeon because he's still not done. After the fifth battle with him, Zagi is almost shutting down, but he ultimately dies by falling to his death into a near bottomless pit...after being slashed across the chest by Yuri. The party was probably just as sick of seeing him as the player was.
    • Forcystus, Desian Grand Cardinal of Tales of Symphonia, should qualify too. At the beginning of the game he is caught in a point blank explosion, tough for anyone to survive. Later in the game, he fights the party and once defeated, falls backwards into a reactor. He promptly shakes it off and meets the heroes again on the way out and is only finally killed after Lloyd stabs him in the chest.
  • Mass Effect 2 starts with the Normandy being destroyed by a Collector cruiser. The Normandy gets blown apart while Shepard is still the only person left on board, but being thrown out of the wreckage by a huge explosion is not as bad as the space suits air supply being shredded and the air tubes ripping. However, that's not what killed Shepard, who then startet to fall towards the nearby planet to burn up in the atmosphere. And then impacted on the planets surface. S/he doesn't STAY dead, though.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • On the Unlimited Blade Works route, Archer loses most of his mana and gains a nasty arm wound from a duel with Lancer, and then breaks his contract. This normally means he would fade away from mana loss, except he has a class ability that lets him stick around for another three days. That's reasonable. After a day of mana leakage he gets into a fight with Shirou and gets impaled. Then Gilgamesh shows up and he gets impaled about twenty times MORE and a piece of the building collapses on top of him. Everyone assumes at this point he's gone. He shows up during the final battle a day later to rescue Rin and give the killing blow to Gilgamesh. And he still has enough time left to have a conversation with Rin before the Grail being missing removes any last anchors he has to the world.
    • Berserker's Noble Phantasm, essentially 12 1-ups that each have to be removed in a different fashion, more or less makes this trope obligatory for him. It's subverted in two of the routes, but his death in Unlimited Blade Works, charging down at Gilgamesh as the latter kills him over and over with a never-ending Storm of Blades, counts.
  • Resident Evil:
    • William Birkin in Resident Evil 2 has to be killed multiple times, but keeps coming back in a stronger form until finally being killed for good at the end. The B scenario requires the player to kill him two extra times, then another time in the extended ending, followed by a cutscene in which he dies yet again, presumably for good this time.
    • There's also Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, who has to be killed at least twice being completely destroyed, and it is possible to kill many more times before that.
    • Nikolai to a lesser extent. He's probably more good at narrowly avoiding severe harm than withstanding massive amounts of it, but seeing as he gets into dangerous situations throughout the entire game, probably invokes Why Won't You Die? reactions from the protagonists after his Face Heel Turn, and when he finally can die it's either via an explosion, Nemesis-impalement, or in the novelizations getting ripped in half...
    • Happens in Resident Evil 5 to Wesker. Rocket blows up in his hand, overdosed on his meds, falls from a high-altitude aircraft, whatever you do to him in the boss fight, immersed in lava, two simultaneous rocket launchers to the face. Probably qualifies as overkill, but, then again, there was no body...[1]
    • Rachel from Revelations qualifies to an extent: she gets eaten by an Ooze, mutates (it's debatable whether or not she's actually dead, seeing as she'll talk to you), gets shot with more bullets than almost any other monster in the series can handle, and then comes back repeatedly in the game (she appears quite a bit in Hell mode) where she will withstand a ton more damage. She's presumably killed when the entire ship explodes.
    • HUNK is of the Nikolai variety: he's known in-universe for being constantly being sent into extraordinarily dangerous situations and returning completely unharmed. His teammates aren't so lucky.
  • On the gameplay side of things, just about any video game character, from Mooks to Big Bads to the main characters have deaths like this, considering just how much ammunition/magic/sharp pointy objects you have to pump into them in order to bring them down. Specially if unneeded.
  • Arguably the case for most Fatalities in Mortal Kombat and its long line of installments. Some examples from the 2011 reboot:
    • Scorpion slices the opponent's stomach, causing some of their guts to fall out. He then proceeds to cut the throat area open and then kicks the opponent away, causing the head and torso to get knocked away. And then slices the opponent's head in half, apparently just to make sure they stay dead.
    • Kratos' fatality sees him stabbing the enemy's gut, causing their insides to start falling out. While the opponent tends to their wounds, he stabs them from behind, and slices their entire upper body in half.
    • Freddy Krueger's finisher has him teleport and stab the enemy from behind, then proceeds to drag them down to hell. And blows them up in a large, bloody geyser.
      • This is commonly referred to as the "Johnny Depp Fatality."
    • Sub-Zero, in a combination of two of his older fatalities, rips the enemy's spine out, freezes the body in place, and shatters them with the aforementioned spine.
    • Johhny Cage (similar to SZ's example above) decapitates the opponent with an uppercut, and then rips their headless torso off.
  • Team Fortress 2:
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's Watanagashi-hen, Keiichi gets his head smashed in with a mondo rock, is supposed to get nails hammered into every joint in his hands (probably followed by a Satoko-style crucifixion), does get stabbed outside his house, and what does he finally die from? A heart attack once it's all over.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Holy Paladins. Come on, you know it's true.
    • The same would apply to Protection Paladins...if they ever died. God help you if one in epic gear is holding the flag in WSG.
    • Well played discipline priests, as long as they don't run out of mana.
    • After a lengthy quest chain to hunt down and kill the Black Knight, the guy comes back in the Trial of the Champion dungeon as the final boss - and you have to kill him three more times to make him stay down. (His rotting flesh was just getting in the way, and he has no need for bones to best you.)
  • Portal. "Even though you broke my heart and killed me. And tore me to pieces. And threw every piece into a fire." And then GLaDOS explodes. And still has an Eye Awaken.
  • Ridley gets this treatment in Metroid Prime. After you finally get his health to zero (which requires dozens of super missiles or charged plasma beam shots, or a hundred or so regular missiles) he gets blasted in the chest by laser-shooting Chozo statues and falls over the edge of the Artefact Temple into a huge crater. He comes back in Metroid Prime 3, where he gets beaten by Samus again and falls into the bottom of a several-hundred-meter-deep pit. He gets better, though, and you have to fight him again later in the game.
    • Ridley is more of a case of Joker Immunity than anything else; he's survived at least 6 potential "deaths". They include (in Canonical order):
      • Metroid/Zero Mission - Missiled to death
      • Prime - see above; and he also ends up shot by several eyelasers from the temple's statues, before being knocked over and then exploding.
      • Prime 3 - again, stated above
      • Super - Depending on the player, the first time 'round he's either badly wounded, relatively unhurt, or somewhere inbetween, but has his ass thoroughly handed to him later on
      • Other M - Survives a battle, but has his Life Energy sucked out.
      • Fusion - Finally dead (maybe), but still fought in X form
      • And he was planned to be in Metroid Prime: Echoes as well, either possessed by the Ing or clad in his own version of the Dark Suit.
  • In Yggdra Union, at the end of chapter 8: You fight Gulcasa and injure him severely. Luciana or Aegina, whoever is still alive, comes running out to cover him. When she goes down, Gulcasa awakens Brongaa and you beat him down again. He still refuses to die quite yet, and heads stubbornly for the altar where he's supposed to complete the Ritual of Soul Unbinding, where you have to pound him to death's door A THIRD TIME (the characters hang amazed lampshades on Gulcasa's sheer determination here) before he finally actually dies. The man is a true Determinator.
  • Max Payne gives this treatment to Jack Lupino after beating him at the end of Act One of the game.

Max Payne: When Lupino finally went down, I wanted to make real sure he'd stay that way. V was a bad monster, turned them into freaking zombie demons from outer space.

  • Jon Irenicus from the second Baldur's Gate game. If you have Minsc, Jan, or both in your party, they'll comment on how tiresome this is becoming. Jan goes as far as to say "it's like a bad play". His last words to Irenicus before the fight begins are "here's to a decent ending" (referring to the "bad play" from his earlier comment). Minsc, on the other hand, comments that "I grow tired of shouting battle cries while fighting this mage. Boo will rip out his eyes once and for all and then he will not come back again!"
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, which is set in the near future, we learn that Dracula was finally killed for good in 1999 by Julius Belmont. What did it take to finally end ol' Drac? First, he needed to be challenged and defeated, like in many previous Castlevanias. Then, Julius sealed the holy Vampire Killer whip inside Castlevania, to weaken Dracula's power over the castle (which is the symbol of his power). And finally, Castlevania itself was sealed within an eclipse, to keep Drac's soul from ever reaching it again. It worked, though Drac reincarnated all the same. This time as a good guy, though.
  • An old hilariously buggy release of Dwarf Fortress gave these to people. It could take twenty minutes for a squad of wrestlers to take down a giant rat, despite the Ludicrous Gibs and Punched Across the Room mechanics. With the ability to target body parts, this has gone away; a vulnerable foe will quickly suffer a Coup De Grace by decapitation. However, Bronze Colossi, and certain Forgotten Beasts and Titans made of inorganic materials, are Nigh Invulnerable; the only way to destroy them is to either dismember them completely, hurl them downwards several stories, or douse them in magma until they melt. And in a classic case of Video Game Cruelty Potential, one can cause such deaths by hacking off limbs slowly.
  • John Marston in Red Dead Redemption. When Edgar betrays him near the game's conclusion, he takes fire from about a dozen gunmen for at least fifteen full seconds. And when the smoke clears, he is still standing, and only falls over and bleeds to death moments after the bullets are already in him. Not bad for a guy who earlier nearly died from a single rifle shot in the shoulder.
  • Halo: Reach:
    • Noble six gets shot, beat up, blown up, and can spend most of the game on the edge of death depending on how good the player is; and by the end, Six is responsible for the death of multiple army battallions. In cutscenes, (s)he takes it about twenty times worse: (s)he gets tossed out of a spaceship, trapped in a downed aircraft, impaled bodily, and attacked by a plasma turret (in the open, no less), among other things. Given the numerous injuries the player sustains in gamplay and out, it's no small wonder that it takes an entire platoon of elite warriors to kill him (or her)...while (s)he's alone and dying in the desert. Even then, (s)he's impaled twice in the gut and decapitated before (s)he finally stops fighting.
    • Also, given that Emile gets impaled from the rear and then snaps the neck of the alien who did it while he's being held in the air, and can be heard heavily breathing over the radio for several minutes afterwards, he might count as well.
  • In the second fight with Dogadon in Donkey Kong 64 (see at the end of this video), it dies pretty damn spectacularly. First it gets punched backwards into the wall, then flies up, has a sort of Technicolor Death with light coming out from the boss at all angles and falls into lava head first, eventually coming up again while on fire, then sinking back in with it's hand going down last with smoke coming from it. Possibly a Family-Unfriendly Death.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution gets thrown through a pane of really thick glass, smashes into a heavy computer frame (with glass shards still stuck in him), nearly strangled to death, then shot in twice in the head for good measure. That's just what we see; apparently, after getting shot, the heavily damaged wall behind him fell on top of him due to the fact that the building he was in was also on fire (strangely, this actually saved his life, as it protected him from the flames and the fumes). He survives, but has to become a cyborg.
  • In Crisis Core, Zack Fair fights off tons of army guys, all armed with guns when he only has a sword; after being shot full of bullets, he still manages to give Cloud his Final Speech.
  • Ōkami gives us Shiranui. The start of the game makes you think she died from one of Orochi's attacks, but later it's revealed that she was instead impaled by a... thing... and then took a boulder for someone. Ōkamiden reveals that between these two she was frozen, and after all this it takes an extremely powerful attack from the game's Big Bad to finally finish her off. Gods sure are hard to kill, and even after all this she managed to get reincarnated 100 years later.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • Attempted on Joshua Graham, or as he's better known, the Burned Man. He survives (among other things) a hanging and at least five .308 rounds from NCR snipers on different occasions. Then, having failed Caesar and the Legion at the Battle of Hoover Dam, he's covered in pitch, lit on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon. It doesn't work.
    • Even Graham is absolutely nothing compared to Frank Horrigan, the Enclave's walking super weapon from Fallout 2. The only real way for the player to inflict decent damage on him is to repeatedly shoot him in the eyes with the Gauss rifle, while up to five of your companions also unload their weapons him. This will usually fail. However, you can also reprogram the seven minigun turrets in the room and convince a squad of four Enclave soldiers armed with the most powerful guns in the game to help you. Meaning Frank's death will almost certainly consist of nineteen targets firing on him simultaneously with the most powerful weapons in the entire game until finally he goes down, likely after being shot thousands of times. Apparently, this isn't enough. So he gets shot more, torn apart, and finally nuked, with whatever's left of him sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
  • In Haunting Ground, Lorenzo, the game's final boss, is put through a rock crusher, thrown into a pit of lava, comes back as a flaming skeleton, before finally disintegrating into dust. Not to mention all of the previous times you could have kicked him, laid traps for him, or sicked the dog on him.
  • Ganondorf in Twilight Princess: it takes four phases to take this guy down. First he possesses Zelda, gets beaten out of her, transforms into Ganon recieves another beating from Link. Midna then uses the Fused Shadows on him, after predictably surviving that, gets his body filled with light arrows, falls off his horse (which looked rather painful as well) gets in a rather awesome sword fight with Link which ends with him getting stabbed through the chest with the Master Sword. Then he stands up, gives his last words gets the Triforce of Power taken from him (which had been keeping him alive through this) we then see (the dead) Zant break his own neck (for no explained reason) After which Ganondorf eventually dies. He is still standing.
  • Really, just about every RPG end boss that goes through multiple forms before finally going down (read: almost all of them) qualifies for this trope.

Web Comics


Red Mage: I have disposed of the zombie dragon's remains in the ancient ways. His bones I scattered and broke before I buried them. His head was buried upside down at a cross roads. I added the upside down part as an extra precaution.
Black Mage: Ideally, this is how we would deal with all of our enemies.

  • In Fafnir the Dragon, Edward (yes, that Edward) dies first by consuming the blood of a dragon (you're supposed to bathe in it, drinking it is a major no no), setting him on fire internally (flames literally erupt from his mouth and ass). He panics and runs, trying to find water, but falls through a skylight, landing in the middle of an amateur chainsaw juggling contest, getting his arms cut off and having a chainsaw go straight into his ass. He gets up and runs, trying to find water, and does, only for it to be a pool of Thor's Holy Water, causing him to burn and dissolve at the same time, until only his head is left, which Vlad the Impaler stabs with a sword. Vlad even states that, despite having imagined a thousand ways he could have killed Edward, this was better than ANY of them. Then Vlad caps it all by pissing on Edward's now fleshless skull.
  • In Drowtales:
    • Sene'kha Vel'Vloz'ress is stabbed by her sworn enemy, captured by another clan, imprisoned with her arms in chains and legs in solid rock, given to said sworn enemy, beheaded, and set on fire. The Kyorl'solenurn clan does not fool around when making sure nether summoners stay down.
    • Sene'kha's mate, Kess'sen, was horribly difficult to kill. He was set upon by nagas, but fought through them, then survived a manabomb, was stabbed twice, took a blast of fire dead-on, released his seed to be taken over by the demon, and had his head sliced open by Kiel'ndia's chain weapon. Hopefully, the chain weapon did the trick.
  • Dellyn in Goblins survives being impaled on a rusty sewer pipe during a duel with Thaco. While recovering from that wound, he's tracked down by Forgath and Minmax, but manages to offend them by describing his 'hobbies' in great detail. In the bar brawl that follows, he's thrown through a window, pummeled, set on fire with lantern oil, smashed over the head with a table, and finally killed when his slave stabs him repeatedly in the neck with a broken sword.

Web Original

  • Sidney Crosby in Survival of the Fittest, who managed to survive multiple gunshot wounds long enough to prove a vital distraction before biting it for good (after being shot a further few times).
    • Rick Holeman was shot in the chest, stabbed, and then all but hacked to pieces, and STILL had enough strength left to deliver a few last words before he finally died.
  • Though it isn't actually a death, Freeman's Mind invokes this at one point. Gordon complains about all the abuse he's suffered trying to escape, listing all the ways he's been injured up to that point, and follows it up by directly claiming "Rasputin wasn't this lucky!"
  • Red vs. Blue: the Meta survives Tex's landmines, multiple knife wounds, various other explosions, Tex punching him, multiple gunshots from a variety of weapons, slashes from Tucker's Energy Sword, and four point-blank shotgun blasts from Sarge... before (apparently) dying from being pulled off a cliff by the Warthog's tow cable. He does have advanced body armor, but Wash, in the same armor, still only managed to get through the landmines, punching, and a few gunshots before being seriously out of it.
  • A real humorous one on behalf of The Angry Video Game Nerd, with the Winter Games cartridge as the victim during the review of said game. After reading the back label, which says, "Do not store in extreme temperatures, do not immerse in water, do not clean with benzene, thinner alcohol or other such solvents, do not hit or drop cartridge, do not attempt to disassemble." Not only does The Nerd does all of the above in a montage, he burns the cartridge inside his fireplace.

Western Animation

  • Chef's infamously over-the-top death scene in South Park.
    • Also of note is the scientist's suicide in the homeless episode, where it takes nine shots to kill him.
  • Dinobot's death in Beast Wars. He takes on the entire Predacon force (Megatron, Tarantulas, Inferno, Waspinator, Quickstrike, Rampage and Blackarachnea) alone, exhausting all of his energy, defeating all of them, saving mankind and bashing Megatron with a makeshift hammer before dying looking like Swiss cheese.
    • This is after making a noble speech, of course. And the implication is that he didn't die of his wounds directly, but from a complete drain of energy (he used the last bit to destroy an ancient artifact that could predict the future).
  • Averted in Don Bluth's Anastasia by Rasputin. They leave out nearly everything that was done to him. He just drowns after falling through the ice. Since he sold his soul for the power to kill Anya in the first place, he gets trapped in Limbo after the curse fails to kill her, which makes him a living corpse that is prone to falling apart, although undead and indestructible. But he dies if you break his reliquery, which is made of glass and is quite easily breakable.
  • Most anything that starts about halfway through a Happy Tree Friends short.
  • Pointed in a Gamesradar article, the Disney's Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs Evil Queen's death: Struck by lightning, fell from a great height, crushed by a boulder and then eaten by vultures.
    • And if some comic serials are anything to go by, she still survived.
  • Clone High did this hilarious in their Tonight Someone Dies episode, when Ponce de Leon, serial litterer, is Hoisted By His Own Petard: His wrists are bound by beer-can holders, his skin is slashed by razor-sharp candy wrappers, a plastic bag flies onto his head, he slips on some garbage, and finally drowns in a bag full of his own blood.

Real Life

  • As said above, Rasputin's real death was the opposite of Truth in Television. His autopsy, only made public after the end of the Cold War, showed that he was shot four times; one bullet entered his head and killed him instantly. Sadly, Prince Felix Yusupov's wildly implausible lies—the cakes and ale, the hypothermia, the roaring up after being shot, all that factually inaccurate and patently ridiculous nonsense—has permeated popular culture so strongly that even on this page editors are falling over themselves to explain in great detail how Rasputin's death really was Rasputinian. Unfortunately for them, autopsies don't lie: Rasputin never ate the cakes and ale, he never roared up after being shot, he never suffered from hypothermia. His death was quick, clean, and completely unmystical, and the lies told for decades about it were nothing but self-serving hyperbole invented by Yusupov so that he could live in comfort without having to sully his hands with nasty plebian work. (Readers interested in the matter may wish to read Professor Kossorotov's 1916 autopsy as reviewed by Professor Derrick Pounder.) The true story, though, will continue to be ignored because the fake story is much cooler.
    • The broad claim that he "never ate the cakes" is ridiculous. However, sugar reacts with cyanide, thus even if he did eat poisoned cakes, this could kill him a little later - or merely give him a headache (depending on how fast amygdalin decomposes back and how much of it was consumed in the first place), if he wasn't killed immediately after that. That was not the victim's ability to survive as much as the poisoners failing "Toxicology 101" and then not bothering to test their final product on some mice.
  • Prince Alexei was difficult to kill, even with the rampant hemophilia and his self-inflicted injuries before he was murdered! Poor kid.
  • Russia in general is an example of this trope that is still in process. they survived: Russifacation, Genocides, revolutions, political hacks, Napoleon Bonaparte, more genocides, World War I, Violent revolution, the Communists, more Genocides, World War II, Hitler, Stalin, the pogroms, the Cold War, arms race against the US, the Space Race against the US, more Genocides, the war in Afghanistan, Chernobyl, the economic collapse of the USSR, and subsequent economic strife since, and are still, more or less, intact.
    • In this vein, Poland is even more badass: surviving partitions by its own king in the medieval times, changing royal dynasties twice before switching to elective monarchy, getting raided by every neighbour and then some (to the point where Sweden effectively occupied most of the Commonwealth, forcing the Polish king to take refuge in then-indepoendent Silesia), surviving smaller and bigger urpisings on its own territory (Cossacks were just a nuisance compared to what some grand noble houses did...), getting partitioned by its neighbours in three stages, getting partitioned again after Napoleon's defeat, failing in at least two major uprisings and a few local ones, getting rebuilt after WWI just to be invaded again as the first victom of WWII, surviving Nazi/Soviet occupation, actually forming the most efficient resistance movement in WWII history, having a huge percentage of the population shipped off either to Nazi death camps or Soviet work camps for participating in said resistance movement, having its capital city literarily razed to the ground after an uprising that lasted three months (most of it in the city's ruins), getting rebuilt as a "people's republic" (NOT part of the Soviet Union, mind you, just its satellite), having its own political and social uprisings (December '70, for example), transforming into an independent country, joining the EU and NATO (and being forced to participate in all the pointless military operations ever since), and finally, surviving the antics of its politicians. Yes, that last one would actually cripple many countries the size of Poland.
  • Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the pirate, apparently had his neck sliced in an ambush, and still only went down after killing a ton of people, being shrot with 5 bullets and 20 sword slashes/stabs. The legend goes that after the beheading, Teach's body was tossed overboard and proceeded to swim laps around the boat, much to the executioner's dismay.
  • Here's another courtesy of Cracked.com. While not all of the deaths listed are utterly unbelievable, Blackbeard and Rasputin do show up along with people who almost survived being shot dozens of times, hacked to pieces, and the like.
  • Shanda Sharer is an extremely depressing real-life example. She was a young girl who was beaten, stabbed, strangled, stabbed some more, burned, ran over and possibly sodomized.
  • Charles "Lucky" Luciano got his nickname from surviving being beaten and stabbed and dumped on a beach by rival mobsters.
  • This can actually happen to a surprising extent in real life, because most things that kill do not do so instantaneously. A human (or any large animal) can get stabbed in the heart and still go on fighting for several seconds, before the blood pressure to the brain drops too far. It usually takes brain or spinal cord injury to put a critter down instantly.
  • There's a reason for the song "You Can't Kill Michael Malloy". Murderers took out life insurance policies on him and planned to have him die "accidentally", so they could collect the money. The attempts to kill him included: letting him drink himself to death, then replacing his liquor with horse liniment, turpentine, and rat poison, a meal of raw oysters and methanol (also known as "Wood Grain Alcohol", deadly even in very small doses), and a sandwich made with sardines, thumb tacks, and metal shavings. When that didn't work, they tried to freeze him by pouring water on his chest and leaving him outside on a -14F night, then they hit him with a taxi. Finally, they just stuffed a hose attached to a gas line in his mouth that finally killed him.
  • Saitō Musashibō Benkei defended a bridge across an entire army while his master committed Seppuku, killing all who tried to cross the bridge. After some time the army noticed Benkei had stopped moving. Covered in wounds and holding more arrows than a quiver, Benkei had, in fact, died some time ago, but remained standing. Even though he had died before the battle was over, the sheer force and number of arrows it took to kill him puts him well within this trope. This also inspired what the Japanese term as "the Standing Death of Benkei".
  • If the legend is to be believed, medieval German pirate Klaus Störtebeker's last wish to the Hamburg judges who sentenced him to death was, that they let those of his men, whom he still could walk past after he was beheaded, live. He is reported to have managed about a dozen, before the hangman tripped him. The judges, of course, killed all the pirates anyway.
  • Travis, the pet chimpanzee that went berserk and mauled a woman in Stanford, was struck on the head several times with a shovel, then stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife, as his owner frantically attempted to save her friend. When the police arrived, the blood-drenched chimp opened the door of a patrol car, and the driver shot him repeatedly at close range. Mortally wounded, Travis fled from the scene of the attack, circled round to return to the house, and was eventually found dead beside the cage where he'd slept each night.
  • Crossing with Tonka Tough: the Toyota Hilux, as demonstrated on Top Gear in Season 3, is Made of Iron and thus Nigh Invulnerable. So far, it has survived:

(a)Bashing about Bristol
(c)Having a caravan dropped on it
(d)Being driven through the Top Gear production office
(e)Thumping by way of wrecking ball
(f)Drop from crane
(h)Demolition of 240-foot-tall building while parked on the top
(i)Alas, being converted into a Toyboata was too much for the Hilux, even though it was a different one and survived all the way to the end of that particular challenge.

  • Adolf Hitler survived over 40 assassination plots, of which at least one blew him up (though all he got was bruised lower legs). In the end, he took a cyanide pill. And then he shot himself in the head. His body was then burned by his aides (or so say the Soviets, who claim they found nothing left when they checked out the bunker).
  • There is evidence of sacrificial victims in pre-Celtic cultures in Britain that were killed in many different ways (e.g., burned, clubbed, strangled, then thrown in a bog to drown). It is speculated that this was done so that the same victim could appease multiple gods.
    • The Celts were among the groups that believed in the power of the Threefold Death - the idea that dying in three different ways at the same time was very powerful. Lindow Man - a body found in a bog in Cheshire - may have been ritually sacrificed, receiving a blow to the head, a stab wound to the throat, and a broken neck via garrote almost simultaneously.
  • The Other Wiki's page about multiple gunshot suicide details a case that, while only involving different types of gunshot wounds, could probably still count:

In February 1995, a man committed suicide on parkland in Canberra, Australia. He took a pump action shotgun and shot himself in the chest. The load passed through the chest without hitting a rib, and went out the other side. He then walked fifteen meters, reloaded, leaned the shotgun against his throat, and shot his throat and part of his jaw. Breathing through this gunshot-inflicted tracheotomy, he reloaded, walked 136 meters to a hill slope, lay down on the slope, held the gun against his chest with his hands and operated the trigger with his toes. This shot entered the thoracic cavity and demolished the heart, killing him.

  • Ernest Hemingway survived being a war correspondent in two wars. Two car crashes, and two plane crashes, one where it exploded, and he got out after suffering burns, and an injury to his head, which had him leaking brain fluid. He took his own life, ironically because he believed that the only way to get the better of death was to choose when to meet it.
  • Gaius Julius Caesar was stabbed twenty three times. Only one (the second wound) was fatal.
  • Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was reported (allegedly) to have survived multiple gunshots, burnings, a leg amputated, and impaled by shards of shrapnel, he was finally killed when a missile was dropped on his house.
  • Ferdinand Magellan was supposedly very tough to kill. He took several spears to his body and refused to die until he knew his crew made it back to the ship alright.
  • The Roman philosopher Seneca (the younger) might be called the Rasputin of suicides. While an advisor to the emperor Nero, he was implicated in a conspiracy against the former, who ordered him to kill himself. According to Tacitus, he first slit his wrists and took poison, but the blood flowed out too slowly to kill him, and the poison had little effect. He opened more veins on his ankles, and dictated his last words. When still this didn't kill him, he went to a warm bath to speed the egress of blood. Even this didn't finish him off, but he eventually suffocated.
    • Apparently being connected to Nero caused this, since it also happened to his mother, Agrippina the Younger. When he decided it was time for her to go, reports vary. Combined, the general idea is that he tried to poison her, which failed, so he tried to kill her with a collapsable overhang, either on her boat or at home. She survived. He then sent her on a cruise on a specially-designed boat, which sank as intended. She alone survived and swam back to shore, where Nero finally just had someone stab her.
  • Fidel Castro survived 638 assassination attempts by the CIA, and as of 2012 is still alive.
  • Similar to Rasputin, Vladimir Lenin was a tough nut to crack. He was shot repeatedly which was annoying, suffered three strokes and ultimately died on the 24th of January 1924.
  • The medieval and early modern English punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering was, more or less, this. Reserved for men who had committed high treason (women were simply burned at the stake for reasons of public decency), hanging, drawing, and quartering was more or less Exactly What It Says on the Tin...with a few additions.
  1. The condemned was dragged through the streets on a board.
  2. He was then hanged until almost dead.
  3. He was then emasculated and disemboweled (drawing).
  4. He was then beheaded.
  5. He was then dismembered (quartering).
  6. Finally, the bits were publicly displayed across the country.
  • France had the following punishment reserved for regicides (i.e. people who had killed/tried to kill the king):
  1. The condemned was tortured with red-hot pincers.
  2. His dominant hand, possibly holding the weapon used in the crime, was then burned with sulfur.
  3. The wounds generated by these tortures were then filled with molten wax, then lead, and then boiling oil.
  4. The condemned's arms and legs were then harnessed to several horses, which would proceed to pull in opposite directions. The objective here was to literally have his limbs ripped off by the horses, although if it was taking too long—and it could take hours—the executioner might help the horses along with an ax.
  5. Finally, the condemned's torso would be burned at the stake. Note that the last person to receive this punishment (Robert-François Damiens, who had attempted to kill Louis XV in 1757) was still alive when the burning started.
  • William Matix and Michael Platt, a pair of bank robbers in Miami, both suffered this fate during a vicious shootout with the FBI. The melee was so brutal and drawn out that it led to many law enforcement agencies ditching revolvers completely. During the fight, Platt was shot in the lung an inch from his heart, the thigh, both feet, the arm, the torso, the scalp, and the chest. Matix was hit in the arm, head, and neck and knocked unconscious. He came to and was shot three times in the face before dying.

Other Media

  • There's an urban legend about a man in France who attempted suicide by simultaneously hanging, poisoning, shooting, and burning himself. All on a steep cliff above the sea. The attempt failed, when he shot himself in the head while jumping off, and the shot missed his head and instead rippped through the rope, causing him to fall into the sea and survive, which not only put out the fire but also made him spit out the poison he had swallowed earlier. He was then rescued by a fisherman - but then died of hypothermia. Snopes tracked the first version of the tale to forensic literature of the very late 19th century, proving that if it did happen, it had to be Older Than Television. Interestingly, in the first versions the man actually survives.
  • A joke, probably based on the above, ends with the punchline, "Then he had to swim as hard as he could to save his life."
  1. Word of God claims the missiles finally did him in. Though one does wonder, seeing as what it took to kill Albert, what exactly it will take to kill off his perfectly immortal "brother" Alex Wesker.