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A character is so mean, evil or determined that nothing stands in their way.

Just to prove it to the audience, the camera will turn to a shot of their feet (or their mount's feet), as they walk over and stomp on, crush or trample underfoot things that symbolize innocence, peace, happiness, or niceness, such as:

  • A flower or flowers
  • A doll
  • A small, cute woodland animal
  • Someone's body (or skull)
  • Fragile wedding china
  • Framed photo with breakable glass

This scenario is also commonplace in cartoons involving mice, Incredible Shrinking Man scenarios, or normal-size humans who have to deal with Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever -- but usually that's more a desperate attempt to avoid being trampled. Compare Giant Foot of Stomping.

Named after (but has absolutely nothing to do with) a song by Led Zeppelin.

Examples of Trampled Underfoot include:


Anime & Manga

  • In Blue Sub #6, an enemy machine crushes a human skull while it walks.
  • Happens to Team Rocket at the hands (or feet) of the main heroes at the end of episode 4 of Pokémon.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, when X (Howard X Miller in the dub) prepares to duel Judai, he walks over to a flower and steps on it, after comparing it to a child and remarking that he enjoys cutting down children's potential and dreams.
  • This is how Seishuu dies in The Twelve Kingdoms. For worse, he gets trampled by a carriage because he has been blinded recently and can't see it coming... and the dude in the carriage actually doesn't even bother with changing its path, thus running Seishuu over intentionally.
  • In One Piece, many villains do this to Luffy's hat. They really ought to know better by now.

Comic Books

  • Averted hard in Flight 714, where Rastapopoulos boasts that he will crush Tintin as he crushes "this insignificant spider!" The spider then manages to elude at least five of his attempts to step on it, reducing Rastapopoulos to incoherent rage ("FDJRK").
  • Used to great effect in the Justice League storyline Rock of Ages. In a Bad Future where the Earth is a desolate and corrupt wasteland, Darkseid tramples a lone flower. He didn't just care he stepped on it, he went out of his way to do it.
  • In a inversion, the heroes and titular lions from Pride of Baghdad use this against the Complete Monster of a bear, Fajer. Fajer is probably too strong to fight and beat head-on, so the lions knock him out of the building he's been using as a cave, then scare a herd of horses into trampling Fajer. The bear's spine is snapped and he's left helpless due to this.

Film

  • Terminator
    • The Terminators and HKs step on human skeletons in the first and second movies.
    • The T-800 steps on the roses when he reveals they were just there to hide a shotgun.
    • The T-1000 steps on the T-800's Gargoyle sunglasses, crushing them underfoot.
    • When the first film's Terminator parks outside another Sarah Connor's house, the truck's tire crushes a child's toy.
    • Feet (or similar crushing) is a trademark of James Cameron. Aliens has Ripley running over a Xenomorph head with the APC.
  • Bambi Meets Godzilla. Bambi is on the receiving end.
  • The Mummy Trilogy: In The Mummy, there's a bit where a group of characters are running away from the titular mummy and one glasses-wearing treasure hunter falls over, and his glasses fall off. The weasely backstabbing guy (who we've already seen selling out The Hero to almost certain death in the first scene) not only leaves him on the floor, but stomps and smashes the glasses. You get a view of the treasure hunter's dismay as he hears them crunch.
    • Downplayed a little in that said weasely backstabbing guy probably didn't do it on purpose, seeing as he was rather too preoccupied with fleeing in terror for anything clever like making sure there was a decoy behind him.
  • In the 1998 remake of Godzilla (or something people want you to think was Godzilla but wasn't), this scene is subverted as the intrepid cameraman stands in the center of the street to film 'zilla. We see the great reptile's foot come down ... but when it moves on, the cameraman is right there, alive and unharmed[1]; albeit quite understandably wigged out at his close call.
    • Lucky for him, that version of the Big G had splayed toes...
  • In the original The Land Before Time, our heroes nearly get stepped on by Sharptooth, as they were unknowingly sleeping in one of his footprints.
  • When Battle Butler Max first enters in Cats Don't Dance, he steps on a rubber duck.
  • Short Circuit begins with a shot of tanks crushing flowers, just to emphasize how inhuman the military antagonists are.
    • Subverted later, where an accidental squashing of a grasshopper undertread is what causes Number 5 to realize that it is alive and start rebelling against his military programming.
  • Disney is a big user of this trope:
    • In Mulan, the heroine's horse Khan greets "the indestructible Mushu" by trampling the tiny dragon.
    • Scar causes Mufasa's death in The Lion King by dropping him into a stampeding herd of wildebeest and then blaming Simba for it.
    • There's also The Princess and the Frog, in which Faciler kills Ray by stepping on him, although death wasn't instant.
    • In Tarzan, a dare by Terk causes Tarzan to accidentally cause an elephant stampede, which results in one of the baby gorillas nearly getting trampled if not for Kerchak.
  • In the Clash of the Titans remake, Hades effectively invokes this trope on a deity's scale when he turns into a fireball and heads back to the Underworld ... and demolishes the ship of Perseus's adoptive family in the process, merely because it was in his way.
  • Anastasia shows Rasputin stepping over a drinking glass that a guest at the ball had dropped as he makes his evil Power Walk through the crowd. Given a nice Call Back later during Anastasia's Crowning Moment of Awesome the end of the film, when she destroys his reliquary by stepping on it multiple times, dedicating the blows to her family, Dimitri, and to Rasputin himself--"Da svidanya!"
  • Happens to some of the roaches in the movie Twilight of the Cockroaches, one of the many ways that they are killed off in the film.

Literature

  • Older Than Radio, one of the all-time classics: The first mention we ever get of Mr. Hyde in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde is a story of how he callously knocked down and trampled a little girl he passed in the street.
  • In The Jungle Book, Mowgli finally manages to kill his Smug Snake nemesis, Shere Khan the tiger, by causing a large buffalo herd to stampede over him.
  • Lily Weatherwax in Witches Abroad transformed some coachmen into beetles for failing her, then trod on them. Later, the zombified Baron Saturday does the same thing to the Duc, when Lily's magic is withdrawn and he reverts to frog form.

Live Action TV

  • In the episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas", Sam and Dean are caught by two pagan god who ritually kill people around Christmas time. Their ritual is interrupted by a neighbour bringing fruitcake. After the neighbour leaves, the husband god just drops the cake, and ominously steps on it while going back to the brothers who had escaped.
  • In 1000 Ways to Die, this happens to a biker during the mayhem he himself caused (by ripping off a female dancer's top) in "Lady And The Trampled" and a jealous cheerleader captain who "accidentally" let the new girl on the team fall (only for the bitchy cheerleader to get run down by the entire football team as they charge out onto the field) in "Pam-Caked!"


Truth In Television

  • The Mob Effect, of people getting caught up in an adrenaline-fueled moment, is responsible for some unfortunate real life trampling deaths.
    • Wal-Mart, 2009, Black Friday: A crowd of shoppers takes "doorbuster" literally and tramples to death the temp working security as he opens the door.
    • Air Jordans cause shoppers to mob and trample.

Video Games

  • The kidnapping of Billie and Teko from the John Woo game Stranglehold is underscored by one of the Russian mob dudes knocking a picture of them to the floor and treading upon it as they drag the two off.
  • The intro movie from Battlefield 1942 does it with a tank flattening a helmet.

Web Comics

 While "crunch" fails to capture the sad, wistful sound of daisies being crushed underfoot, it's about the best we can do.

Web Original

  • Lauren crushes Bill Cowan's family photographs underfoot in Kate Modern: The Last Work, although that had more to do with mean-spiritedness than badassery.
  • Dr. Horrible has an Imagine Spot wherein Captain Hammer is the trample victim, in Act II of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Western Animation

  • Chaotic shows the bad guys' mount trampling flowers.
  • Jimmy Neutron has a coach that implies he'd do this to his grade school age charges.

  If you fall, you will be trampled. If you refuse to trample, you will be trampled.

  • In Transformers: Beast Wars Rampage runs over a butterfly when the Predacons were entering the valley that spawned the ancestors of humankind, in what is a reference to either the original Butterfly of Doom, or how easily they Predacons could kill the proto-humans.
  • In Justice League, the Thanagarian's little powerpoint of the Gordanians has a close-up of their armies trampling a skull.
  • In the second appearance of Azula, Mai and Ty Lee, their tank crushes a flower in a grassy meadow as they chase the Gaang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • In G.I.Joe: the Movie, Lady Jaye trips and falls down and several of her teammates just run by her. Fortunately, Flint stops and picks her up.
  • In a Simpsons scene reminiscent of the one from Flight 714, Mr. Burns threatens to crush someone "like a bug, I tell you, like a BUG!" and then proves too feeble to crush an ant. He steps on it, but it walks away unharmed.
  • Defied in the episode "The Last Roundup" in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Fluttershy spots a desert rabbit in their path and screeches to a halt. The glower Rainbow Dash gives her implies they might've jumped over the bunny—or just kept going.

Notes

  1. apparently, upon the foot landing, the cameraman was inbetween its toes
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