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The Five-Finger Fillet is when a character places his hand palm-down on a table, spreads his fingers, and begins stabbing between them with a knife, trying to go as fast as possible without hurting himself. Screwing up with certainly result in Fingore.

This can be a way to establish a character as a hardened criminal or a Knife Nut, or just generally Badass. However, if the work is farther to the silly side on the Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness, it's more likely to be done by a character who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes, playing the contrast for humor.

The game is also called "mumblety-peg", "the knife game", "nerve" and "bishop."

Examples of Five-Finger Fillet include:


  • Baccano: Claire Stanfield does this for fun with Chic's scissors in "Drugs & Dominoes".


  • Aliens: Bishop does this with his hand over Hudson's to demonstrate his superhuman reflexes. Leads to his Robotic Reveal.
  • Surviving Picasso: As in Real Life, Picasso becomes attracted to Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this
  • In The Hangover: Part 2 Teddy lost his right ring finger attempting this; it was then claimed by a drug-dealing monkey. Fuckin' Bangkok.


  • A variation occurs in Neverwhere. Mr Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between. Mr Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all his fingers.

Live Action Television

  • In the BBC documentary series Simon Schama's Power of Art, Pablo Picasso meets his future mistress Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Jimmy expertly plays the game with his old trenchknife in "Family Limitation," establishing him as a Knife Nut who's still not over the war. Capone's unfamiliarity with the game tips Jimmy off that he wasn't really in the war.
  • In an episode of Eerie Indiana involving supposed subliminal messages in punk rock bands' songs, a character du jour was seen doing this.
  • The IT Crowd has Moss do this with a steak knife in one episode with surprising skill.
  • The unaired pilot of Fearless has a bad guy do this to Gaia, in order to get some reaction out of her. Presumably fear, but this is Gaia we're on about.

Video Games

  • A hidden minigame in Full Throttle
  • Red Dead Redemption offers this as an optional Rhythm Game, complete with wagers.
  • In Chapter 4 of Tales of Monkey Island, a minor character can be seen doing this at a local bar.
  • In the thieve's guild in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood a thief plays this at one of the bar tables. Sometimes he wins and admires his hand and other times he loses and licks his wound.
  • The Sniper in Super Monday Night Combat has this as one of his taunts. Except he uses a sub-machine gun. While doing a one-hand-stand. And while spinning.

Web Comics

  • Marilith: When Dim and Vics are introduced, Vics stabs himself while doing this
  • In Cwen's Quest, one of the new villains shows off by performing this on a fairy.
  • In Gnoph, Abbey injures her fingers doing this and laments that she used to be able to do it perfectly.

Western Animation

  • Homer attempted this in an episode of The Simpsons, and managed to stab his fingers every single time.
  • Samurai Jack: Occurs in the episode "Jack versus Mad Jack"
  • In Stressed Eric, a man in the hospital queue does this with his hand resting on his thigh. He seems quite happy to repeatedly stab his thigh, but screams in pain when he misses and hits his finger.
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