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Right before the climatic battle of a story, The Hero turns to his friends and says that they don't need to come with him -- if they want to turn back, this is their last chance, and he won't stop them.

The hero's friends will often respond with an inspiring speech that how they've come too far to abandon the cause now, how the hero is crazy if he thinks he can do this alone, and so on. A member of the group actually accepting the offer is almost unheard of.

This is separate from Line in the Sand, as it is not always an explicit suicide mission, and the hero is not looking for Red Shirt volunteers. Rather, the hero knows he's about to do something dangerous, and doesn't want to endanger his friends if they aren't willing.

Can overlap with Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. When the hero's offer is taken, it's Screw This, I'm Outta Here or Opt Out. See also This Is the Final Battle. Sister Trope to Last Chance to Quit and Line in the Sand.

Examples of You Can Turn Back include:


  • In The Incredibles Mr. Incredible tells his family to stay behind before going to fight the Omnidroid Killer Robot. His wife will have none of that. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he admits that he isn't strong enough to lose them again. (Note that their kids had no chance to say whether they wanted to go too before the Omnidroid attacked them.)
  • The Serenity example in Line in the Sand also falls under this trope.

 Captain Mal: Anybody doesn't wanna fly with me anymore, this is your port of harbor.

  • In Street Fighter, there's a "we can go home" speech along this lines.


  • At the end of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, Harry tells Ron and Hermione that they don't have to go with him to find Voldemort's Horcruxes. They, of course, turn down the offer.
    • This is a call back the the pre-climactic scene of the first book, where right before Harry leaves to follow Snape, he tells Ron and Hermione that there's still time to turn back. Ron and Hermione tell him he's being an idiot. Hermione even references this conversation in the aforementioned scene from the sixth book, saying they've had "time" — five years in fact — to turn back, and they haven't so far.
  • In The Bible, Naomi says this to her two widowed daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Orpah takes her up on it, Ruth refuses.
  • Deconstructed in Heretics Of Dune, when this is explained to be a common use of Reverse Psychology to boost morale amonge the troops.

Live Action TV


 Picard: "I'm about to commit a direct violation of our orders. Any of you who wish to object should do so now. It will be noted in my log."

Data: "Captain, I believe I speak for everyone here, sir, when I Hell with our orders."



  • The titular character's speech before the battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare's Henry would be the most classic of examples.

 Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart. His passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse.

We would not die in that man's company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.


Video Games


 Dave:This could be real dangerous. If anyone wants to back out...

Bernard:Okay, I'm outta here.

(starts to leave)

Dave:Bernard, don't be a tunahead. This is Sandy we're talking about.

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