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Trophy Violence

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And the trophy goes to...Mason's face.
"Impaled on my own Nobel Peace Prize. How ironic."
Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons, "Bart Gets Famous"

And the award for the best murder weapon goes to...

The perfect weapon is often hidden in plain sight... So what's better to bludgeon someone with than a heavy trophy or plaque? It's almost too absurd to be a trope, but that doesn't stop it from happening.

The trope is when someone murders or injures someone with an award. Occasionally, the award may be used to damage something inanimate. The award is usually a plaque or a sports trophy, which makes sense considering how sharp those things can be. It can be Played for Laughs but sometimes it's straight-up macabre. You can see this trope the most in Police Procedural shows, because of the violently disturbing imagery. The use of an everyday object especially juxtaposes with what we consider dangerous.

The significance behind using a trophy as a weapon is usually contextual to the scene. But in general, a trophy is a symbol of success. It's a physical manifestation of the character's hard work, especially if they're talented, so that makes it even more ironic when their own trophy kills them. Often, a Trophy Room will accompany the scene, making The Resenter even more Driven by Envy. I mean, what's more intimidating than a wall covered in gold trophies? Hence, characters who use the trophy as a weapon could be subconsciously jealous of the victim's success. In some cases, someone uses their own trophy as a weapon, which could symbolise that their success has corrupted them. They could be a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk or an Academic Alpha Bitch who lost their way, and now, they're using their own trophies to hurt others in Dramatic Irony. Seems a little too on the nose, right? For extra bonus irony, this may happen to someone who believes Losing Is Worse Than Death.


Not unexpectedly, the plaque or trophy usually breaks in the process, which could symbolise the victim's just desserts if they abused their power in the past. If it's their own trophy, it may reflect their willingness to sabotage their own success by hurting others. Contrasting these darker examples, it can serve as a Visual Gag, especially if it's accidental.

Although the trope implies the trophy is used as a weapon, in some cases it can hurt a character unintentionally. For instance, a heavy trophy could fall off the shelf in a Trophy Room and hit someone on the head (again embodying an ironic fate). Someone might also trip and fall on a trophy, becoming Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.

Compare Instrument of Murder, Edible Bludgeon, Improvised Weapon. Not to be confused with a Creepy Souvenir, the trophies that serial killers take from their victims, or video game achievement trophies that come in the form of weapons.



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    Comic Books 
  • Dark Night: A True Batman Story: As Paul Dini reveals in a flashback whilst waiting for surgery, that following being stood up by his then-girlfriend to the Emmy Awards, he used the Emmy trophy that he'd won that very night to viciously cut himself in front of the bathroom mirror out of self-loathing.
  • Spider-Man 2099: An ex-girlfriend of Miguel invented a means of implanting orders into a person's mind through the optic nerve. Her partner beat her to death with her own trophy (which was shaped like the Statue of Liberty) so he could steal the data and sell it to the highest bidder, but not before she sent a message to Miguel with her device that ordered him to kill her partner. Miguel narrowly manages to resist the order, but nearly does so anyway when he sees the body of his ex and the bloody trophy next to her.
  • Watchmen: A gang of Top-Knots beat Hollis Mason to death with one of his own trophies.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the climax of The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, after using up all three of the golden bullets needed to kill the were-rabbit (actually Wallace), Victor uses the carrot-shaped trophy from the vegetable competition combined with an elephant gun and fireworks and attempts to take another shot.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur, during the Bar Brawl, one of the bikers takes the owner's lacrosse trophy in an attempt to bludgeon Shaggy with it. Shaggy knocks him out and then uses said trophy to KO another biker.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Censor: Sleazy film producer Doug has a Phallic Weapon-shaped horror movie award on his coffee table. When he tries to rape Enid, she pushes him over onto it, impaling him through the mouth and killing him.
  • In The Fifth Element, after the military rigs the contest so that Corben can go to the resort and get the sacred stones, Father Cornelius tries to talk him into handing over the tickets. After the cops interrupt him, Corben brings Cornelius and Leloo out of hiding. While Corben is distracted, Cornelius grabs a bronze trophy, knocks him out and takes the tickets.
  • Malignant: Gabriel, seeking revenge against the scientists who wronged him, goes after Dr. Florence Weaver in her home. He grabs her award for excellence in surgery. It resembles an upside-down caduceus, and he holds the two wings on the side of the trophy like a crossguard. Gabriel proceeds to violently murder Dr. Weaver, then returns to his secret hide-out in Madison's attic and sharpens it on a grindstone. He also uses it to murder Dr. Fields.
  • Maps to the Stars: When Havana screams at her for accidentally bleeding on her white sofa, Agatha finally reaches her Rage-Breaking Point and bludgeons Havana to death with a Phallic Weapon trophy from a film festival.

  • Tomorrow Town: The events of the story are kicked off by Varno Zhoule, former science fiction author and present founder of the titular proposed futurist town, being bludgeoned to death in his home with one of his own Hugo Awards. As Richard Jeperson eventually figures out, Zhoule was in fact killed by his deputy and the Town's other founder George Gewell who hit him around the head with his own Hugo Award out of frustration at his incompetence and impractical ideas. Then afterwards Gewell moved the body and stole one of Zhoule's Hugos to divert suspicion from him. Jeperson admits to being disappointed at the use of an improvised bludgeon rather than a science fiction Death Ray.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Subverted. Jake claims that a murder suspect did this in a fit of rage towards his colleague, which is why the trophy in question doesn't appear in the crime scene photo. However, this was just a ruse to trick the culprit into confessing to the crime. Jake later admits that the trophy wasn't at the scene because a cleaning lady dropped it, and it was never used in the murder.
  • Castle has an episode where a young model is killed by a weapon that left an unusual wound tract. It later turns out that the murder weapon is a glass trophy in the shape of an obelisk.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: A trophy is used to kill a popular football coach.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: On one episode, a school principal is killed with a school trophy.
  • Doom Patrol (2019): In the pilot, Cliff bashes Bump over the head with his racing trophy after finding out that Bump has been sleeping with his wife.
  • Elite: In season 3, Polo uses an academic trophy to kill Marina.
  • Ellery Queen: In "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument", Edgar Manning, a mystery writer, wins the annual Blunt Instrument Award for his year's work and goes to pick it up at a party. Ellery, who was Edgar's rival for the award, is sidelined because of a nasty cold. So Edgar gleefully phones Ellery and gives a blow-by-blow description of the award ceremony (including describing the trophy) as he leans back in his easy chair. But the phone call is interrupted by a sickening thud. Ellery calls out to Edgar but gets no response. Cut back to Edgar, who's now face down on his desk. His skull was shattered by ... The Blunt Instrument, the trophy itself.
  • Fargo: In season 1, Nygaard hits Malvo over the head with his insurance salesperson of the year trophy. Despite his success following his wife's murder and escape from the law, his past is still following him.
  • Frankie Drake Mysteries: A mother kills a teacher with a trophy after consulting her about her academically-suffering daughter.
  • The Gillies Report contains a rare self-inflicted version with Dave Sorensen, the brilliant, but accident-prone captain of the Australian Farnarkeling team. When he went to accept the Sportsman of the Year award, he fell through the podium and impaled himself with the award.
    Unfortunately, Sorensen suffered a catastrophic personal mishap while mounting the podium to pick up the sculpted tribute. He hadn't looked well since the soup and it was no surprise to onlookers when he fell through a rostrum interstice only seconds later while raising the golden artefact and thanking his immediate family. Organisers said that this was first time since the function's inception that the award had been taken internally.
  • How to Get Away with Murder: The trophy initially symbolises a student's success under Annalise's teaching and mentorship. After it becomes a murder weapon, everyone involved must conceal and hide it, contrasting with the idea that trophies are usually boasted.
  • Inside No. 9: In "Simon Says", Simon fakes Gavin's death by (pretending to) stab him with the National Television Award on Spencer's mantelpiece. After Spencer believes this is a continuation of the blackmail and kills Spencer, he realizes it was all a trick when he sees Gavin still alive. The last shot is of the National Television Award trophy, implying that Spencer will use that to kill Gavin for real, and then he's on the phone to his agent joking about abandoning fans' bodies in the river.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: A bowling trophy is used as a murder weapon in one episode.
  • Motive: In the first episode, a bowling trophy is used as a murder weapon.
  • My Babysitter's a Vampire: Played for Laughs in the pilot when the main cast use Ethan's father's debating trophy's sharp edge to stab the vampire delivery-boy in the hand defensively. He reacts with pure confusion when he realizes what he's been stabbed with.
  • The Office (US): In "Dinner Party", Jan throws Michael's Dundie award at his plasma TV, breaking them both. In a later scene, she's seen trying to repair the trophy with glue, but it keeps falling apart. This is symbolic of her relationship with Michael.
  • The first episode of Queens of Mystery has the episode's first victim Oscar Prescott killed with an award of a Golden Pick-Axe, having the end of the pick not put into the trophy's base left sticking out of his head.
  • Saturday Night Live: Subverted in an episode of "The Joe Pesci Show" where Pesci is holding a discussion on the Academy Awards and gets jealous that his guest Richard Dreyfuss had been nominated that year. He implies he's going to hit him with an Oscar, before stating that he plans to use a bat instead.
    Dreyfuss: Joseph, you seem upset. What a surprise.
    Pesci: [picking up the Oscar on his desk] Hey hey hey, you wanna surprise? I'll give you a surprise.
    Dreyfuss: [dryly] What are you gonna do, Joe? Are you gonna hit me with that Oscar?
    Pesci: No, I'm gonna hit you with this bat!
  • Sky Roja: In the first episode, a fight ensues and a man is hit in the head with a trophy. He falls to the ground and a large pool of blood forms.
  • The Sopranos: In season 6, Christopher picks up a glass award off of J.T's shelf. He asked what it's for, and J.T condescendingly replies its a Humanitis award. Christopher proceeds to hit him in the face with it.
  • Veronica Mars: Invoked and subverted. In Season 2, it's suggested by Veronica that Aaron killed Lilly with his Oscar statuette, which he claims that Lilly stole from him. This inspires Aaron to hire Kendall to place the statue, with blood and hair, in Duncan's room, implicating him in Lilly's murder. In actual fact, after he gets found not guilty, Aaron confesses that the Oscar statue was a Red Herring all along — he killed Lilly with an ashtray.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Title belts have been used as weapons too many times to list.

  • Martin/Molloy: After winning an ARIA (for best comedy album), Tony and Mick did a bit on their show about how the ARIA is the spikiest of all awards (see Real Life below) and how easily you could put someone's eye out with one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Starfinder: The opening mystery of The Threefold Conspiracy has the player characters aboard a ship stuck in the Drift, and one of the crew members goes missing. One of the clues they uncover is the murder weapon, a small metal statue of the Idari.

    Video Games 
  • Apex Legends has unlockable "heirloom items" which give the characters their own melee weapon of choice. Mirage has a small statuette of himself reading "Best Competitor in a Battle Royale - Based on skill, but mostly looks."
  • Hotline Miami: In the final boss battle, Jacket uses a trophy to kill the Father's pet panthers, and then uses it to knock down his female bodyguard.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat 9: Johnny Cage has a Fatality which has him chop the opponent's head in half and jam a trophy in between the two halves while saying, "And the award goes to...".
    • Mortal Kombat 11: Johnny's Fatal Blow involves him striking his opponent with an award which causes the base to break off. Johnny then stabs the opponent with the broken trophy.
  • In Murder by Numbers (2020), the first case involves a victim who was killed by being hit on the back of his head with a show award trophy.
  • Overwatch: In his "Summer Games" Gridironheart skin, Reinhardt swaps his rocket hammer for a rocket trophy, which he can club enemies with.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: In episode 5, it's revealed that the King of Prosecutors Trophy was the murder weapon the whole time.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Saxxy is a statue of Saxton Hale wieldable by every class that is given to the winners of The Saxxy Awards. Victims are frozen into an Australlium statue.
    • "Meet the Sniper" also provides a decent quote.
      The Sniper: Feelings? Look mate, you know who has a lot of feelings? Blokes that bludgeon their wife to death with a golf trophy.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick: This is the incident that starts the entire story. Xykon, in the course of burgling the mage Fyron Pucebuckle, beats him to death with his own Wizzy award, resulting in Fyron's student Eugene swearing an oath of vengeance against Xykon.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • In "The Simpsons Guy", when rich palms no deposit bonus codesr Simpson and Peter Griffin are fighting, rich palms no deposit bonus codesr briefly weaponizes the show's thirty-one Emmys against Peter.
    • In "And Then There Were Fewer", Derek is bludgeoned to death with one of James Woods's Golden Globe Awards, sending him falling off the balcony of the mansion.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart Gets Famous", Lisa has an Imagine Spot in which Bart is impaled on her Nobel Prize.
    • In "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", Lisa is at the school auditorium, accepting a math award. Bart stands up and takes credit for it. Lisa gets angry and throws the trophy at him, but Bart ducks out of the way, and the trophy hits Ralph instead.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?", Sappy Stanley the Elephant knocks Bugs out with his own Shloscar.
  • Total Drama: Revenge of the Island: In "Up, Up, and Away in My Pitiful Balloon", to get her hands on the "Revenge of the Island" prize money reserved for contestants, Heather hits Chris in the head with a Gemmy award while he's piloting the zeppelin. She later throws Gemmy awards at Jo and Cameron when they try to stop Heather.

    Real Life 
  • The famously pointy Australian Recording Industry Association award trophies have been known to cause injuries, as discussed in a 2018 Junkee article[1]. One confirmed injury includes someone working at UNIFIED Music Group, who impaled his foot. Grinspoon member Phil Jamieson and pop singer Montaigne have also confirmed they both came close to impaling their feet on one. Sydney band manager Julian Marshall was hospitalised after dropping a box of ARIA awards (all weighing 1.75kg each) on his foot.
  • Actor Sam Attwater of EastEnders fame impaled his buttcheek on his 2011 Dancing On Ice trophy.
  • After winning a Golden Globe for The Act, Patricia Arquette accidentally hit co-star Joey King in the face with her award. The injury was minor, but caused a small circular bruise.
  • One of the many infamous moments in the history of the Chilean Festival de Viña occurred in 2000, when Enrique Iglesias, after receiving the Gaviota de Plata (or Silver Seagull trophy), decided to share the award with his fans in a rush of emotion... by throwing it to the audience. Two fans were injured, though one of them was brought onstage and was happy enough to be next to Iglesias (she also received two signed album copies).
  • When Jane Yolen received the Skylark Award from the New England Science Fiction Association, she put it on display in her window. Unluckily, the glass lens in the trophy focused the light from the window and started a fire on her best wool coat. There were no injuries, but she was amused enough by the incident that it is now included in her official author bio. The punch line? Relating the story to Bruce Coville, she complained, "I'm going to have to put this where the sun doesn't shine!"


Video Example(s):


Gemmy bludgeon

Heather uses Chris's Gemmy awards as a weapon to hijack his blimp and make off with the million dollar prize.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrophyViolence

Media sources: