Silent Credits

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Sometimes you've got to show some depth."
"Do you think we should do that? Kill off Adric, roll the credits over silence?"
"It would certainly stop that bastard saying what the next programme is."
"No it wouldn't. Nothing could stop that bastard. And even if it stopped the bastard on BBC Two, it'd never stop the bastard on Dave. As soon as he gets to the poppy bit of Blackadder Goes Forth, he's already split the screen and he's showing highlights of Frankie Boyle's nan-pussy set. In Memory of the Fallen(!)"

Sometimes, if an episode ends on a sad note or a major character is killed off, the credits will roll without music.

This is ruined whenever a broadcaster's continuity voiceover does a spiel over the credits.

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

Examples of Silent Credits include:


  • The 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist had an episode where a character died, and the closing animation was replaced by credits on cards, with a military funeral march.
    • An Eyecatch version of this was done with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: usually a man's voice will say "Fullmetal Alchemist!" in various tones over it. However, when Envy is killed off for good in episode 54, the Eyecatch has no voice over, just a picture of the character.
    • This happens several other times with the Eyecatch as well late in the series; Fuu and Buccaneer are two other examples.
    • The 2003 anime had a silent next episode preview for the final episode following Ed's death, up until the very end, when Al yells out "BROTHER!"
  • The first episode of Ga-Rei -Zero- ended with the entire cast for that episode dying. The credits roll with only the crackling of a fire.
  • A variant appears in Naruto, after The Third Hokage's death; the end theme plays just the same as normal, but the preview for the next episode is utterly silent, except for Itachi's narration.
  • The last episode of Angel Links, with the silence beginning just beforehand when the feather lands on Meifon. The ending theme, which usually begins playing right before the credits, starts but cuts out completely to indicate Meifon's death.
  • A variant appears in episode 24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion: after Kaworu is killed by Shinji, the credits roll with music alright... but this time, the vocals are missing. And this is the only credits sequence in the entire series without vocals.
    • Another version had the credits song removed from the end of the English voice track, resulting in the final credits after Asuka's "how disgusting" line rolling in complete silence. Creepy as hell.
  • Gun X Sword has one of these right after Ray's death, with only the sound of wind chimes playing in the background.


  • While Fantasia usually has no opening or closing credits, in the 1990 re-release, end credits were added showing footage of the intermission with altered sound (this was used to make it look like the show was over). After the curtains close (also have no sound effect), the credits continue rolling with no music or sound effects and eventually leads to a black screen (though some versions show the Walt Disney Pictures logo before blacking out).
  • Originally, the second half of the ending credits of La Bamba were shown in silence. later editions added a cover of "Come on, Let's Go"
  • Path to 9/11 had no music to its credits on either night of its original TV airing.
  • Partially done in Cloverfield. The credits roll silently for a minute and a half before launching into a large orchestrated piece title "Roar (Cloverfield Overture)".
  • Evita had no music over the end credits, which is unusual since it was based on a Broadway musical.
  • After the track "Lux Aeterna", which started near the end of the movie, finishes, the credits of Requiem for a Dream have no background music for the rest of their duration. Instead, there is a two-minute track of seaside sound effects. Interestingly enough, said "music" is also on the soundtrack.
  • The BBC docudrama Threads, which ends with nearly all the main characters dead from the immediate or long-term effects of nuclear war. More than this, the show features teletype-style captions, accompanied by a characteristic sound. After the bombs fall, knocking out virtually all electronics, the teletype captions are silent.
  • This would have been the case if the original ending of Clerks had been kept. In the original ending, which can be seen on the 10th anniversary DVD, Dante is shot and presumably killed by a holdup man just as he is finishing up the day's paperwork. The credits then roll silently with the exception of the beeping sounds of a cash register ... which, with the added context, become surprisingly chilling.
  • The 1964 nuclear thriller Fail Safe featured no music. Credits rolled to the perpetual clicking of the Cheyenne Mountain computers heard throughout the film.
  • Bright Star ends with Ben Whishaw reciting Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" over the end credits, with no music.
  • Noise has this. It's really a jarring silence as the whole film's always has noise, even the "quiet" bits of the film aren't quiet, yet the credits are cut to black and complete silence.
  • Beneath The Planet Of The Apes—after Taylor detonates the nuke, Paul Frees narrates as the screen goes white: "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead." The screen then fades to black, and the credits roll in silence.
  • Michael Haneke's Caché (AKA Hidden) has no musical score at all. The opening credits are a big block of text over a still scene (it's not until several minutes after they've ended that we get our first clue that this isn't a freeze-frame), and the end credits roll over a silent shot of Pierrot meeting Majid's son.
  • The credits for No Country for Old Men initially appear to be silent with only ambient noise, but said noise gradually evolves into a superbly chilling piece by Carter Burwell.

Live-Action TV

  • Adam-12: The 1970 episode "Elegy for a Pig," which recounted the life of a police officer killed in action, ended with silent credits in lieu of the usual booming theme song. (The sound effects associated with the "Mark VII Limited" and Universal Studios vanity logos were kept intact.)
  • Adric's death in Doctor Who - the traditional starfield sequence of that time was replaced with a picture of his broken Mathematics badge (when it got used to kill a Cyberman). One reviewer said that he never noticed the credits were silent - he was too busy laughing at the death of his most hated character. However, many others have commented that it made the episode more moving.
  • Grange Hill:
    • The death of Anthony Karamanopolis.
    • And that of Judi Jeffreys (well, not quite silent but with the fading sound of the fire alarm instead of the theme music).
  • The UK children's magazine programme Blue Peter did this whenever the studio pet cat or dog died, as well as when someone associated with the programme died, such as Percy Thrower in 1988.
  • The Downer Ending of Blake's 7 initially concludes this way, although the music fades up halfway through.
  • 24 has its silent clock ticks, mostly done when a major character dies. Most of these however have other sounds over them, there is a train whistle on the silent clock for Ryan Chappelle's death. Only one of these however was completely silent, the one done during the death of Edgar Stiles. Four of them were accompanied by music, which usually made it a Tear Jerker.
  • Farscape, after the apparent deaths of the two lead characters in the Season 4 finale (and, it was believed at the time, the end of the entire series)
  • For a non death-related example, one season finale of House had the music cut off just as House downed another pill. Cut to credits
  • Also unrelated to character death, credits roll free of music (with ambient sound effects) in season 2, episode 7 of Queer as Folk after Michael realizes he can't handle Ben's HIV-positive status.
    • And again in season 5, episode 10 after Babylon is blown up.
  • The final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth concluded with the deaths of the entire main cast, followed by no credits at all, just "BBC" and the year, after the agreement of everyone involved to forgo credit in order to preserve the effect of the ending.
  • The Sopranos did this for Adrianna's death and again in the finale, which ended with a cut to black and silence in the middle of a scene.
  • Six Feet Under, when David survives the carjacking and after Nate's death.
  • Although nobody died, silent credits were used to great effect in Roundhouse. Billy Anykid, when trying to avoid a confrontation calls out "Reprise the theme song and roll the credits" only to have everybody walk away from him in disgust, and the credits role silently as Billy looks around the now empty set.
    • This was done on the episode dealing with gang violence. Rather than a happy, dancing and singing finish, probably due to the seriousness of the subject matter, the credits were preempted by a serious write-up which concluded "Gang Violence is No Joke."
  • Every episode of Lost ends with the show's title accompanied by a percussive sound. However, for some sad endings, such as Sun crying at Jin's grave in "Ji Yeon," the sound is omitted.
    • The Grand Finale omitted the usual percussive sound and ominous end credits music. The network was even smart enough to not play ads or run a voiceover, instead showing images of the plane wreckage and playing the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Which some people interpreted to mean that everyone was dead the whole time, despite repeated Jossings to the contrary.
  • Mike Baldwin's death in Coronation Street was meant to be this, except the continuity announcer talked over it.
    • Until a few years ago, any episode of Corrie which ended with a death would have silent credits. This is no longer possible now that the broadcasters insist on shrinking the credit sequence into a corner of the screen and having the continuity announcer prattle on about what's coming next
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Thaw" has one of the most artfully produced Silent Credits sequences you'll ever see: the surviving members of a civilzation are hooked to an adaptive computer life-support system, which manifests their fears in the form of a sadistic and violent Clown. When Janeway finds a way to access the system without actually entering the simulation, the Clown's reality (and the background audio) starts to fade as the hostages are disconnected one by one. The final exchange of words is beautiful in its simplicity, with the Clown uttering two memorable words: 'I'm afraid'. Janeway's sole response is a haunting, softly-whispered 'I know'.
    • And then the Clown mutters "Drat." as it fades to black.
  • On the final episode of the original version of Family Feud, after host Richard Dawson gave a famously touching farewell address, the closing credits, had no music, just the sound of the audience applauding, and announcer Gene Wood ending the show with "Thank you Richard, and Thank you America!"
  • A rare documentary example occurs in Jacob Bronowski's series The Ascent of Man. In episode 11, with some visual assistance from a fellow Pole, Bronowski contrasts the scientific assertion that knowledge can never be certain with the chilling certainities of political and religious dogma. At the end he gives a moving piece to camera while standing in the preserved Auschwitz concentration camp. The picture then dissolves to the Polish man, then to an earlier photo of the same man - his Auschwitz ID photo. The credits roll in silence.
  • Canada's Worst Driver had Silent Credits when Tom Stagno, brother-in-law to contestant Crystal, was killed in a car crash. Crystal was sent home out of sympathy.

Video Games

  • In Drakengard's final ending, after defeating the Cosmic Horror, the camera shows a shot of Caim and Red, when a missile suddenly appears from the left side of the screen and obliterates them both. Cue Silent Credits on grey sky.
  • Persona 4 pulls a different version. During the Bad Ending, instead of the full credits set to Never More, with a showcase of various game cutscenes, the game shows a sparse white-on-black partial credits roll, set to Corridor, a far quieter, more somber tune.
  • Done in Bit.Trip FLUX, the final game of the series.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day ends on a really bad note, after Conker comes to terms that he's now king of a country he doesn't want, surrounded by people he despises, and his girlfriend Berri is dead. The credits are silent save for a few melodramatic keys.
  • Partially done at the end of Red Dead Redemption: after Jack fulfilled his pointless vengeance, the credits roll normally with a melancholic song. After the song ends, they just go on, completely silently.

Web Animation

Web Original

Western Animation

  • South Park:
    • The episode "Free Willzyx" ended with the credits rolling over a shot of the eponymous dead orca whale on the moon and no music at all.
    • The episode "201" also features credits with no music at all. The scene is the same as above, except a dead Tom Cruise can also be seen lying next to the same orca whale.
      • The DVD release oddly adds the regular credits music and cuts back to the regular black background after a while.
    • In the more recent episode "You're Getting Old", the credits are played briefly with silence.
  • The PJs lacked an ending theme, meaning this happened at the end of every episode (you wouldn't know it from the original network airings). This also carried over the logos, even that of Touchstone Television's (which has music on other shows).
  • The Family Guy episode "Brian and Stewie" ended with this, though it was cut out when originally aired on FOX. When it re-aired on Adult Swim a week later, it was left intact.