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When an important character dies, one way to ramp up the emotion is to cut all dialogue and sound effects, adding complete silence to the scene for perhaps ten seconds. Sad music, often with female vocalization, will usually be played to highlight the effect, but all other sound is cut out. Expect the visuals to consist mainly of other characters' reactions to the death, especially lots of screaming the dead character's name (silently), and general crying. Also expect the visuals to be in Slow Motion much of the time.

And, of course, there's also the literal moment of silence shown out of respect for the dead, but that's more about plot than cinematics.

See also: Silent Credits.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Moment of Silence include:
  • Gandalf's death in The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Sirius's death in Order of the Phoenix.
  • In the end of the British campaign in Company of Heroes, there are close shots of the aftermath of the battle of Caen, accompanied by celtic singing with strings and bagpipes.
  • The death of Buffy's mum, Joyce in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the entire episode had very little dialogue and was the only episode in the entire series to contain no music, and so probably qualifies.
  • The death of Henry Blake in season three of M*A*S*H. There's a slow panning shot of everyone looking horrified and saddened after The Reveal.
  • In NCIS: LA, we get one of these following Dom's death.
  • The death of Adric at the end of the Doctor Who episode "Earthshock". Not only was there no sound, instead of the usual closing credits there was just a closeup of Adric's broken badge.
    • Done in the new series to great effect at the end of "The Pandorica Opens", when the Doctor is put inside the Pandorica, followed by the entirety of reality being subjected to Ret-Gone by the explosion of the TARDIS.
      • And for the last few seconds of the episode, silence falls.
  • When major charaters die on 24 sometimes they go to commercial without the second-indicating beeps. Edgar Styles and George Mason are the only two who come to mind.
  • At the end of the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, when they finally go over the top in no man's land there are no closing titles and the usual theme tune is replaced by a slow piano version and gunshot sound effects, finishing with three strong bass-drum notes as the scene fades to a poppy field.
    • The Blackadder ending came about almost by accident. They'd originally intended to show everybody falling, but it looked fake. Then they came up with the idea of slowing down the action and dissolving to a poppy field... and suddenly there wasn't a dry eye in the country.
  • The musical Allegro has a silent scene (music but no dialogue or singing) following the death of Joe's mother as Joe, his friend and his father react to the sad news.
  • A minor subversion in I Am Sam, where Sam admits that he is not good enough to raise Lucy alone after the Prosecution berates him into this position. The trope is put into play when Sam is forced to let Lucy go and the only sound is sad music in the background.
  • Real Life subversion: Academy Awards + moment of silence for Titanic victims ÷ "That's enough of that, now let's all go party 'til dawn!" = James Cameron is a huge prick.
  • Kittan gets a short one in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    • Kamina gets this as well.
  • A variant is found in the final episode of the School Days anime. Makoto reads a text message that consists only of lots of blank lines and he scolls down to the end where it just says "Goodbye", and all sound stops for a three second close up of the single word. Then the tragic music pics up and he is stabbed to death from behind.
  • In the Justice League episode "Hereafter," this is the reaction to Superman's apparent death. He's not actually dead, but none of the onlookers know that.
  • End of Evangelion has this trope at the end of part 1, when Shinji finally decides to enter the battle... only to find that he's too late.