Stop or I Shoot Myself

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The worst kind of hostage situation.
"Nobody move! I have a hostage. If anyone follows us, I'll kill myself and then her."
Roy Miller, Knight and Day

Differentiated from an ordinary Hostage Situation in that the hostage taker and the hostage are one and the same. Double points if the person in question is pointing a gun at their own head.

This might be because the baddies want the hostage alive, or the hero is dealing with a principled antagonist who just doesn't want any casualties. If not, it's just plain funny.

Examples of Stop or I Shoot Myself include:

Anime and Manga

  • While he doesn't use a gun, in episode 12 of 11eyes, Kakeru, having foresaw a Downer Ending in episode 11 had he of taken certain steps against Liselotte, instead threatens to commit suicide, which would also kill off the Big Bad's former lover. Luckily for him the gambit worked, which allowed the remaining heroes to take her down.
  • Ouka stops Kyouka from commiting Grand Theft Me on him in Kyouran Kazoku Nikki using this method.
  • Higuchi in Death Note, after having been cornered as the current Kira, does this to keep himself from being caught. At some point he realizes it is hopeless and tries to pull the trigger. Watari snipes it out of his hands.
  • Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh!. But it's subverted in a way. The Pharaoh doesn't care! He would have gone ahead and knocked Kaiba off of the rooftop if not for Yugi's intervention. The fact that the Pharoh is willing to go so far to win promptly puts Yugi in a Heroic BSOD.
  • In an early episode of Code Geass, Lelouch threatened suicide when C.C. tried to stop him from walking into an Obvious Trap—he couldn't threaten her since she has a Healing Factor. He's also managed to convince people to follow his orders in a similar fashion.

Lelouch: All methods of escape have been sealed. If you believe you can get out of here without me, then shoot me now!

  • In the first Vampire Hunter D movie, the female lead threatens to bite out her tongue and bleed to death unless the villains leave her brother and the town doctor alone.
  • In Trigun Wolfwood seems to do this, to provide a visual example on how someone's chosen action will lead to the death of hundreds. It is quickly revealed however, that he never intended to put himself in any danger, and was using an empty clip.
  • In early One Piece, Kaya threaten to cut her own throat with a chakram if Jango doesn't spare the children he's currently pummeling. Since he needs her alive, it works.
  • Naruto: In the Land of Waves arc (Naruto's first big mission), Inari's mother threatens her captives with biting her own tongue off if they hurt her son (leaving them without a hostage to use as leverage). Later subverted when she tries it again and, having her in their clutches, the bad guys simply knock her out to prevent her from doing so.
    • In the Forest of Death, a variation is used; Ino possesses the body of Kin, one of the Sound Genin, and threatens to commit suicide unless Dosu and Zaku stand down. However, the two know that any damage done to a victim of possession by that technique also hurts the possessor, and not only see through the bluff but attack Kin to injure Ino.
  • In Speed Grapher, Kagura pulls this, holding an axe to her throat because she knows the villains need her alive.
  • In School Shock, the Hao Xuan pulls this off with a mecha to help Liu Li escape.

Comic Books

  • Played with in an issue of the John Byrne's Superman reboot: Superman gets to hear about a vigilante called Batman and goes to Gotham City to capture him. Batman holds him off by revealing that somewhere in the city is a man with a bomb strapped to him, and Batman is wearing a device that will automatically detonate the bomb if Superman comes too close. Superman agrees to keep his distance and watch Batman in action, they wind up working together to bring down the villain of the week, and at the end of the issue Superman admits that Batman's not as lawless as he'd heard, and he'd probably be willing to let Batman continue operating if it weren't for that strapping-bombs-to-innocent-civilians thing. At this, Batman explains (what neither Superman nor the audience had known up to this point) that the man with the bomb strapped to him was actually Batman himself.
    • It's played with even more 20 years later. During Infinite Crisis, Kal-L, the Golden Age Superman, gets to relive Kal-El's life from his eyes. During this point, Batman tells Superman about the bomb and is shocked. Moments later, he calls his bluff, gets rid of the bomb on him and the two become friends.
  • In Star Wars Legacy, Cade Skywalker is being visited by the ghost of his ancestor, Luke, who wants him to stop wasting his life taking drugs, smuggling, and bounty hunting and instead embrace his family's legacy. Cade pulls a blaster, which Luke points out isn't going to hurt him since he's long dead. So Cade points it at himself.

Fan Works

Films -- Live-Action

  • Blazing Saddles. See the above picture. "Back off or this nigger gets it!" What makes this especially funny and awesome is that the townspeople who were about to lynch him moments before are suddenly saying things like "Won't someone help that poor man?".

Bart: Ooh, baby, you are so talented -- and they are so dumb!

Zaphod Beeblebrox: As my first act as president, I am kidnapping myself, and I'm taking the ship with me!

  • John Q: A borderline case, in that his death would actually accomplish something.
  • Will does this in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Initially, however, it only really leaves Barbossa and his men confused, and Will has to explain who he is and why they should care whether he dies - they need his blood to lift their curse.
  • The Whoopi Goldberg movie Jumpin Jack Flash.
  • The opening scene of Murder At 1600 features the protagonist (a D.C. homicide cop) trying to talk down a cracked government bureaucrat who is holding a gun to his own head in the middle of a busy street. Why is a homicide detective filling in for a hostage negotiator? Don't ask so many questions.
  • John Connor tries this in Terminator 3. It doesn't work.
  • Tom Cruise's character does this in Knight and Day just to cause a scene and make a local fireman a hero. "Nobody move or I kill myself and then I kill her!"
  • In the French movie RRRrrrr!!!, the leader of the Cheveux Sales (the Dirty Hairs) takes himself hostage in order to force the Cheveux Propres (the Clean Hairs) to give his tribe the secret of shampoo. When the Cheveux Propres utterly ignore his demands as expected, he actually follows through with his threat to kill the hostage. Yes, it's that kind of movie.


  • An Acceptable Target walks into a bank, holds a gun to his head: "This is a robbery! I've got a hostage!" The manager: "Let me guess, you want <currency of acceptable target's nation>?"
  • A blonde finds out her husband has been fooling around on her, so she busts in on him and his mistress with a gun that she points at her own head. The husband screams "Honey, don't do it!" The blonde yells. "Shut up! You're next!"


  • Dona Lolita, the heroine of the original Zorro novel, does this with a dagger, forcing the Alcalde's guards to let her escape.
  • In Chris Hiemerdinger's Feathered Serpent, part 2, Melody threatens to kill herself if King Jacob kills a few of his men (who made a mess up) seeing as he needs her alive to convince her uncle to help him, he agrees. Granted, she doesn't have a gun, she uses a knife.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel The Shattered Alliance, Lim-Dul comments on this trope after pulling a Grand Theft Me on Jaya Ballard.

Lim-Dul: I could threaten her, I suppose, but I would just be threatening myself, and that would be stupid. "One wrong move and I let myself have it."

  • In Shatterpoint, Mace Windu takes himself hostage to coerce his renegade padawan Depa, referring to himself as "the only hostage a Jedi could legally take". He comments on it, later:

Depa: "Only Mace Windu would think of taking himself hostage."
Mace: "I was the only one available."

  • The Dresden Files: In Grave Peril, Harry gets past Leanansidhe by poisoning himself. His friend has the antidote, which he'll exchange for Lea's word that she'll leave Harry alone for a year and a day.

Live-Action TV

  • The Doctor, in the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie. While YMMV on the rest of the movie's quality, it was one of the moments that really helped cement Eight as being the Doctor.
  • An old Saturday Night Live skit spoofing Lethal Weapon had Mel Gibson stick a gun in his own mouth whenever one of his requests was denied. It even worked over the radio.
  • Farscape: John Crichton, when faced with enemies that want him alive, holds himself hostage with his finger, saying, in a direct reference to Blazing Saddles, "Get back or the white boy gets it!" Moments later, he remarks upon their stupidity.
    • Not the last time he threatens himself, either, since for many reasons a lot of people DO want him alive. He later walks around with a bomb strapped to himself and tells his adversaries it's set to go off if he gets upset.
  • In Burn Notice, Michael does this in the first season finale. It's one of the few times the trope isn't played for humor; it's actually plausible.
  • Stargate Atlantis, Season 3 episode "Sateda": Ronon Dex is captured, along with Teyla and Sheppard, by villagers he previously met during his Runner days. They're planning to deliver him to the Wraith in exchange for their village to be spared. The elder refuses to free them even when Ronon put a knife under the throat of one of his jailers—so Ronon threatens to slit his own throat if they don't let Sheppard and Teyla go. The villagers are forced to yield since the Wraith were already summoned forth—and they wouldn't be very pleased to find Ronon dead, as they want him alive for an ultimate hunt.
  • Done in The Invisible Man series. Though, the bad guys wouldn't have minded if he wasn't pointing the gun at his head, because they needed the gland intact, and it was hooked into his brain. He ducks around a corner and shoots the gun off, then falls to the floor apparently headless. When the mook leans over the body to examine it, he kicks his gun out of his hand.
  • In the episode "7 Men Out" of Numb3rs, Granger was getting ready to get one guy when the guy put a gun to his own head. Granger ordered him to drop the gun and the guy did. He tossed the gun at Granger and ran for it.
  • Red Dwarf "Body Swap": after Rimmer steals Lister's body and runs off in Starbug, he holds a gun to his head and warns them not to follow "or the body gets it!".
  • In Blue Bloods, done in the Season 1 finale by a dirty cop, when confronted by ESU and the Police Commissioner. The Commissioner's response? "We all have to die sooner or later."
  • Attempted by Hyde in Jekyll, but the antagonist calls his bluff.
  • In the second episode of Black Mirror, Bing threatens to cut his own throat on live television to prevent anyone from interrupting his speech.
  • In The Secret Circle the ghosts of a coven of witches possess Adam and threaten to kill the "shell" unless they're given Blackwell's amulet.
  • In the final episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Jack and Rex (the latter having had a full body transfusion of Jack's blood), pull this on the Three Families and their Mooks when in the Blessing -- the Families can't shoot them, because if they do, their (well, Jack's) blood will be absorbed by the Blessing and undo the Miracle, restoring death to the world. The Family members present try to create a Sadistic Choice to stop them, but they go through with it anyway.

Tabletop Games

  • This is a classic threat by the desperate in Diplomacy. A given player in a situation will claim that he will move all his forces to face the one he is threatening, so that someone else will have a power vacuum to take advantage of, while the one threatened will get very little.

Video Games

  • Played for drama in Mass Effect. The Colonist's background mission, "I Remember Me", has Shepard trying to talk down a deranged, suicidal girl who'd escaped from some batarian slavers.
  • Also in Call of Duty's first Modern Warfare.
  • Just like in Pirates of the Caribbean, Will threatens to kill himself in Kingdom Hearts II unless Barbossa let Elizabeth (plus Sora, Donald, and Goofy) go free.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In the Tom and Jerry short The Missing Mouse, Tom hears news of an escaped white lab mouse who has swallowed a powerful explosive. Jerry, who has been painted white when shoe polish falls on him, pretends to be the mouse, trying to hurt himself and forcing Tom to stop him. Eventually, Tom figures it out, and that's when the real lab mouse appears...
  • A similar situation occurs in the Looney Tunes short The Unexpected Pest. Sylvester keeps a mouse around to chase every once in a while and keep his mistress from kicking him out. The mouse eventually figures out that Sylvester needs him alive to keep his happy home, and has the poor puddy tat scrambling to keep the mouse from hurting himself.
  • In the Futurama episode "Parasites Lost", Fry threatens to kill himself in order to get the parasitic worms out of his body; obviously this doubles as a threatened Taking You with Me.