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A character is lit from behind by a blinding light, usually making the figure rather indistinct. Makes for a dramatic appearance, and seems like something Jesus would do. What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic Remember, Power Glows. This is what a Holy Halo is supposed to represent.

Not reserved for The Messiah, as it's a pretty cool thing to do in general. See also Background Halo.


Anime and Manga

  • Parodied in Slayers when Amelia stands serenely atop a pillar looking out to the sea while in the unexplored (by the magical part) Muggle part of the world. While the Muggles below look horrified at a small girl standing at a high location thinking she'll fall, this turns to shock when the see her fly down with the sun's rays behind her, and assume she's an angel. Being the Love Freak that she is, she uses this to convert them to the way of justice.
  • Parodied in Shugo Chara, where Amu makes a dramatic entrance in her Amulet Angel form. Turns out the backlighting is provided by Ran, Miki, and Suu operating floodlights behind her.
  • Parodied in School Rumble during Harima's hermit/god phase, when he also displays a Friend to All Living Things persona.
  • Hidamari Sketch: After mentioning how Yuno ("Juno") ([1]) is the goddess of marriages, Miyako has Yuno stand in front of the glass door to show off her divine power. Behold the power of backlighting...

Comic Books

Fan Fiction

  • Kyon is seen that way by Kanae in Kyon: Big Damn Hero after fighting a giant robot at the beach.


  • Kirk's entrance in Star Trek II.
  • The ending of Batman Forever, the Bat-signal filling in for the light.
    • In the fourth installment, again as a Call Back.
  • The Crow has this during the "I do care" scene in the movie, with Eric silhouetted by the sun in the big window.
  • It happens in Ghost, just before Sam goes to Heaven. Notably this is the only time in the entire film his girlfriend sees him as a ghost.
  • It happens a couple of times in A Hard Days Night. In the first "Can't Buy Me Love" when The Beatles first break out of the TV studio and into the field, they get backlit by the sun as they clamber downstairs. And Paul McCartney gets this for a second or two, via a stage light, near the end of the "And I Love Her" segment... What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic
  • RoboCop when he busts the drug factory.
  • The Frighteners has this as Michael J. Fox' character gets booted back to life by his ghostly afterlife pals. Who've got the holy light behind them.
  • Jake Blues' release from prison at the start of The Blues Brothers.


Live Action Television

  • NCIS, one of the first episodes of Season 7, pulled off by - who else? - Gibbs, after shooting the bastard who tortured his team, beating the crap out of said bastard's lackeys, AND arriving in a few minutes from a mile away. Not impossible, but nothing is with Gibbs.
  • In Doctor Who, when Rose becomes the Bad Wolf, she exits the TARDIS glowing and backlit by golden light. Bonus points for her hair having that weird I-look-like-I'm-underwater-but-I'm-not thing going on.
    • The Doctor in "The Fires of Pompeii" when he goes back to rescue Caecillius and his family.
  • Parodied in Black Books when Manny is briefly transformed into a human "Little Book of Calm".
  • A rather Narmy moment early in Smallville had Clark rescuing a boy from a trash truck by tearing a hole through the side. The boy sees Clark's head pop in to view surrounded by loads and loads of holy backlight.
  • The cast of Touched By an Angel always get the glowing treatment whenever they reveal their identities.
  • Used comedically in Seinfeld--a priest sees Elaine, in a modest white dress, backlit by the window with the sun behind it, and think's she's the Virgin Mary.
  • Played with in an episode of Battlestar Galactica. When Kara goes to see Anders, who has become a Hybrid, the hallway lighting makes her look angelic as she stands in the doorway. When she steps inside the room and the door closes, the Matrix Raining Code projected onto her makes her look demonic.
  • In Season 5 of The Amazing Race, the editors used a version of the Holy Backlight on, of all things, an airport departures board when they were talking about their faith. To underline the effect, they also added a sound effect of a heavenly choir. On the next leg, the same sound effect was used, along with a shot of a line of white-robed nuns descending an escalator, when they were able to secure seats on an earlier flight that hadn't been available the day before.
  • An episode of Cold Case reverses this by having a Holy Backlight incident be the trigger for a serial killer's mania, leading to his first murder: the poor backlighted sap.
  • In Part IV of Angels in America, as Prior is in the graveyard telling Belize about his visitation by the Angel, he is aptly lit from behind, so much so that Belize shields his eyes.
  • A MASH episode with a Rashomon-style story line had Major Burns' version of the story showing him as a cool, capable surgeon, backlit in a very holy fashion.
  • Parodied in Scrubs with Kevin Casey, who simply blinks and asks the nurse in the next room to turn the incredibly bright light away from him.


  • In Angels in America, the Angel is described as "four divine emanations - phosphor, fluor, lumen, candle." In stage versions and the TV miniseries, this usually means she is back-lit to an almost blinding degree.

Video Games

Web Animation


  • In The Last Days of Foxhound, Solid Snake appears exclusively in this manner.
  • Godly Kitten
  • Dechs, the Antihero for Hire, loves doing this, with the help of a portable floodlight. At one point, Crossroad complains about it, calling it his "Ghost of Christmas Past schtick".

Western Animation

  • Sab Shimono's character in Where The Toys Come From.
  • Parodied (what else?) in The Simpsons episode "Bart's Girlfriend": Bart first sees Jessica when she steps to the church podium to do a Bible reading and she is immediately surrounded by a Holy Backlight. Bart exclaims "There IS a God!"... then we cut to outside to see that a lighthouse is shining its light directly at the church window.

 Random Guy: I'm telling you the light would work better if it pointed it out to sea!

Sea Captain: Arr, shut up! I know what I'm doing!

[a boat crashes against some rocks the distance]

Sea Captain: Arr, I hate the sea and everything in it.


  1. In most European languages the J in "Juno" pronounced like an English "Y".
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