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Jamie: We've filled 2 pontoons, it goes about 3 minutes a fill, we've got 48 yet to go.

Narrator: Thanks for the warning, we might go to the time lapse here.

Cue build montage

Also called American Montage. One that shows the passing of a long period of time summed up into a handful of key shots.

See also Time Passes Montage. For the musical equivalent, see Age Progression Song.

Has nothing to do with the literal distortion of time plotted by Sorceress Ultimecia. If so, the trope would have been called "Time Kompression Montage" anyways.

Examples of Time Compression Montage include:

Anime and Manga

  • Death Note has a particularly memorable one in episode 26, complete with that series' rendition of Dies Irae in the background.
    • In the manga, chapter 97 begins with eight pages of silent panels, covering the passage of two weeks.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, when Sakaki first pets Mr. Tadakachi, she does so for forty-five seconds real-time. As she does, however, we can see the background steadily go from afternoon to dusk, until finally Chiyo asks if she can go.


  • Rocky movies are famous for training montages, including the meat-punching run-up-the-stairs bit in the original and in Rocky Balboa, and a Rocky IV montage showing Rocky and Ivan Drago.
    • Rocky III' starts with a montage set to the song "Eye of the Tiger" showing the first three years after Rocky wins the championship title and becoming a world famous celebrity.
  • In the movie In the Line of Fire, potential presidental assassin Mitch Leary goes through the stages of putting on facemask makeup via this trope.
  • Used in The Muppets, in order to speed up the search for the rest of The Muppet Show cast. And by 'used', we mean it's intentionally invoked by the characters in-universe.

Live Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined's third season opens with a particularly dark Time Compression montage which compresses 3 months of Cylon occupation, including the loss of Tigh's eye.
  • The final five minutes of Six Feet Under provide quite possibly the best Time Compression montage ever.
  • A Blipvert montage that depicts the beginning of time as we know it through present day serves as the title sequence of The Big Bang Theory.
  • On Top Gear these are generally used to compress films involving long road trips or extensive car maintenance. Sometimes spoofed, when a series of clips is shown suggesting that we are seeing the presenters work for hours, and then a visual clue or a bit of dialogue reveals that only a few minutes have passed.
  • The fifty years that pass while the team are trapped on their spaceship during the series finale of Stargate SG-1 are shown in Time Compression Montage. (They get undone for every one but one person.)


Western Animation

  • The Iron Giant. While Hogarth is in the forest trying to get a picture of the title creature, he is seen hiding behind a log waiting for the Giant to appear, goofing off, and finally falling asleep.
  • Robot Chicken played this for laughs with the superhero Montage. He has the power to create these by touching his fists together twice and saying "boop boop". Among the things he uses this power for is to build a shed, teach a guy Spanish, travel several miles, and age a guy to near-senility in a matter of a few seconds. Then his arch-nemesis End-Credits Mon comes in and ends the program.
  • South Park ruthlessly makes fun of the sports version in their skiing episode.

 In any sport, if you want to go

From just a beginner to a pro

You'll need a montage. (Montage)

A simple little montage! (Montage)

  • Regular Show will lovingly parody classic eighties montage sequences with the accompanying music of the time, such as "You're The Best Around" or "Everybody's Workin' For The Weekend."


  • Spoofed in the film Team America: World Police, with a song entitled "We Need A Montage", which explains away the technique as it plays over a montage. "And with every shot show a little improvement; to show it raw would take too long! It's gonna take a montage!"
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