America Saves the Day
- "We are the most powerful military force in the history of man. Every fight is our fight."
- -- General Shepherd, Modern Warfare 2
Aliens have come from outer space. They've landed in the outback of Australia. They proceed to destroy all of the Southeastern Asian region and begin marching through Europe and Africa, but the combined military might of these continents is unable to defeat them.
Guess it's all up to the good ol' US of A.
This trope describes any instance where, because the story was made for American audiences, the writers create a world-wide problem to be solved by Americans (and typically only Americans). The reason for this is simple. The movies are made for Americans and most Americans want to see other Americans as the heroes; also, most of the available actors in American productions are American. Whether or not the problem actually starts in the USA doesn't matter. Americans always save the day when this trope is invoked.
This often happens because the US military pays films to do so. If you show them in a very positive light, they'll let you borrow top notch military planes, ships, and tanks to film, which would normally cost you millions to get access to. So long as you make sure that evil military general is French, and the army that stops him isn't, you go a long way towards making your film within your budget.
Not that this is an uncommon practice or restricted to America.
- Mercilessly lampshaded in Axis Powers Hetalia, as seen in the page picture.
- Used and tweaked around in Death Note. Most of this Japanese series features a handful of Japanese police working with L to find Kira, though justified by the fact that Kira is in Japan, which L quickly deduces. At the same time, the America-specific version of this trope is invoked by several prominent appearances of American FBI and CIA agents, particularly Raye Penber and Near's SPK task force, who work independently of Japan.
- Light proves to be aware of this trope as well, as he considers it a crowning victory when the American president finally announces that his country will no longer try to oppose Kira.
- Parodied in the American Dad! episode "Tearjerker" where Stan tries to fulfill this trope, even shouting "America to the rescue!" as he does it, but instead ends up crushing the James Bond-style British agent with a snowmobile:
- British Agent: "Smith! I don't need your help!"
- Stan: "Nobody needs America's help! Until they need it!"
- America attempts to do this at the end of the Akira manga, but they are promptly chased away by the Neo-Tokyoites, who declare the ravaged town to be a new country.
- Though Tintin was a Belgian comic, it had already become considerably popular in America by the time "The Red Sea Sharks" was written. This has been offered as an explanation for why the plot culminates with the USS Los Angeles coming in to rescue the heroes from submarine attack.
- DC and Marvel comics. Dozens upon dozens of examples. For example, the most recent Checkmate series has everyone making snarky comments on how the United Nations operational task force is filled with Americans.
- Played out rather jarring in the Squadron Supreme limited series. The Earth is on the brink of total collapse, but the Squadron is composed entirely of either Americans or otherworldly beings. Creator Provincialism also results in all of the story's events taking place in the United States, with problems elsewhere barely mentioned at all.
- Subverted in Mark Waid's Empire, where the villain Golgoth begins his world conquest in Australia and continues until only the U.S. remains as a beacon of hope. Then America falls too and everyone is screwed. Justified in that if you're doing world conquest, and starting from nothing, it makes sense to build up a powerbase somewhere else first and save the toughest target for last, after you've assimilated everyone else into your forces.
- In the Strontium Dog "Max Bubba" story, while Johnny and his Vikings are pursuing Bubba's gang, an American military helicopter from the Vietnam War suddenly appears through a temporal rift. When Johnny explains the situation, the crew decide to help, reasoning that they're Americans, so they have to save the day.
- Occurs in many of Roland Emmerich's films, especially Independence Day. Everyone who took part in devising the plan to save the world was American. There was no international committee or involvement of the global scientific community. Considering the movie is taking place over a grand total of three days, during which the entire world is reeling from a massive coordinated strike that crippled most of the world's industrial and military power, this might be justifiable. The film is still considered Snark Bait internationally.
- 2012, on the other hand, is a subversion of this trope. It is clearly shown that the U.S. cannot prevent the apocalypse single-handedly, and global cooperation is a major, if not very subtle, theme of the movie. The scientists who first discover the coming apocalypse are Indian, and the Arks that allow some of humanity to survive and so rebuild are built by the Chinese. Presidential adviser Carl Anhauser even declares that only the Chinese could have got the project built in time.
- Mercilessly lampooned in Team America World Police which of course was mercilessly lampooning the American government's real-world "America saves the World!" mentality. Being written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker meant it also mercilessly lampooned the detractors of said mentality (and everything else in between).
- "America, FUCK YEAH! Coming again to [[America Saves the Day|save the motherfucking day, YEAH!"
- U-571 is vaguely based on events that really happened. The US Navy did indeed capture a Kriegsmarine Enigma code machine and books from a U-Boat in 1944. They did deliver it and the resulting intelligence did aid the Allied cause materially. However, the movie was based on real life incidents where the British Royal Navy had captured Kriegsmarine Enigma code machines and books in 1941 and 1942, enabling the more efficient decoding of enemy transmissions to begin, and the code had already been cracked by Bletchley Park building off of Polish prewar work.
- James Bond movies tend to twist this trope into Great Britain Saves the Day, with the CIA more often than not being absent or impotent while the English hero saves the day. (To rub salt in the wound, quite often the story will be set in America, at least in the older movies.)
- Played straight in Thunderball, where a parachute attack by scuba-equipped U.S. Navy SEALS (with Bond's help) defeats the SPECTRE frogmen carrying the nuclear warhead to Miami, and in Diamonds Are Forever, when a force of armed U.S. helicopters attacks Blofeld's oil rig after receiving Bond's signal.
- Painfully subverted in 28 Weeks Later in which US troops help re=inhabit a small portion of London amidst a previously rage infested United Kingdom. Needless to say a sane rage host inadvertently infects her husband, resulting in a mass reintroduction of rage to the barricaded refugee population.
- Of course it's played straight if you realize their plan would've worked perfectly if the woman and her husband didn't carry a planet sized Idiot Ball.
- Michael Bay employs this trope in his films, most notably in Armageddon. This could be Justified in the case of Armageddon. As one of the few space faring nations, only America has the necessary technology and infrastructure to build the equipment necessary to destroy the asteroid. The Russians do provide support in the form of a refueling station. The team NASA sends is purely American, except for the Russian cosmonaut from said station.
- It's explicitly said in the movie that American, Russian, Japanese (and I think Indian) space agencies "are working together on this." The European Space Agency doesn't get a mention, despite having a launch capability.
- Deep Impact also had an all-American crew of astronauts heading out to destroy the world-ending comet, notwithstanding the token Russian cosmonaut. Worse, the smaller comet landed in the Atlantic; that this also affected Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean was passed over in one line of a speech.
- Averted in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, where G.I. Joe, originally a single American marine backed up by other Americans, becomes an entire multi-national team thanks to international audiences not being too fond of our military or our country at the moment. That's right, folks: G.I. Joe doesn't have [G.I. Joe]] in it. No "All-American Heroes" here!
- Justified in Contact by showing some of the background politicking and controversy over the US dominating the construction of the Faster Than Light Travel machine. In an attempt to alleviate this an international committee is used to select Earth's ambassador, but it's mentioned that the Japanese (who are also contributing significantly to the trillion dollar project) are bought off from insisting on their own candidate by promising them a significant percentage of the technological spin-offs from First Contact. Presumably other behind-the-scenes deals were made to ensure an American candidate was sent.
- Subverted in John Wyndham's Cosy Catastrophe novels The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes, in which blaming Russia for the disaster and waiting for America to save the day when you could be planning survival strategies is a bad idea.
- In the Max Brooks book World War Z, America doesn't precisely save the day, but the American ambassador decides to go on the offensive against the zombies to "restore humanity's self-confidence" rather than waiting for the ghouls to rot away. The conclusion of the operation to clear the zombies from the continental US is declared to be V-Day by the US government; however, many people outside America consider the war to have ended when China was cleared. In any event, there are still tens of millions of zombies at large in the ocean and in the polar regions, and some nations (such as Iceland) remain uninhabitable. This was Lampshaded by the narrator for that section of the novel, who says that if it was some stupid American movie, it would have resulted in the Slow Clap. Instead, everyone just stares at the American ambassador like he was insane and erupts into violent argument. However, the plan is accepted when the American president tries to convince the members of the importance of attacking.
- Its also subverted earlier in the novel when describing the battle of Yonkers. The US government, in an effort to calm public hysteria, plans a massive attack against the zombies using huge amounts of tanks, aircraft, and high tech weapons. Unfortunately poor planning and a serious case of Idiot Ball (whether the ball was held by a general or politician is unknown) leads to a massive defeat and the beginning of a rout that doesn't end until the government retreats to Hawaii.
- Tom Clancy, being a fan of Eagleland, loves this trope. Fully half of the novels in his Ryanverse feature American firepower saving the day. In the other half, it's American know-how, American hard work, or American honesty, as long as they aren't sabotaged by Strawman Liberals. Sometimes a combination of these is thrown in for the sake of variety, and in fairness, other countries do get to help out from time to time.
- In The Bear and the Dragon, the US sends an armored division and a fighter wing to help Russia hold off an invasion from China. It's made plain that the Russians wouldn't have won without US aid.
- Rainbow Six actually subverts this; the guy who ends up saving the day is a Russian who eventually alerts the Rainbow agents of the plot to spread viral agents at the Olympics.
- Besides hating the Theme Song, another issue some fans had with the opening credits of Star Trek: Enterprise was that, in its attempt to highlight human enterprise and vessels similarly named "Enterprise", it seemed to only detail American achievements in naval, aerial, and space exploration (excepting the H.M.S. Enterprise, a British warship). There's absolutely no mention of Sputnik, or even a glimpse of Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to travel in space.
- Generally played straight with the Stargate franchise, with the US Air Force gathering alien technology and allies to fight in defense of the Earth. At the same time, it justifies this by acknowledging the mistrust, politicking, and power struggles that would occur if other nations learned about it... which is exactly what happens when the Russians start running their own program, and together they let other major world powers in on the secret. Eventually the Stargate program goes international, but it's still supervised by the US, and most of the characters are Americans. Specifically:
- 24 employs this trope in the sixth season, where the American CTU not only has to save America from terrorists, but also has to recover a device stolen from the Russians by the Chinese, to stop World War III from happening. Yes, really.
- Gerry Anderson's UFO provided the England Saves the Day variant, with Shado supposedly being an international organization whose membership seemed to be 100% British.
- Used on Torchwood. The United States reacts angrily when it interprets the 456's request that Britain be their liaison as a British attempt at taking control. After the 456 are fought off, the Prime Minister suggests passing the credit (and the blame) for the conflict onto the Americans.
- Saddler hangs a lampshade on this trope in Resident Evil 4, but it's hardly a subversion since Leon Kennedy, an American agent, promptly kicks his ass and saves the day. This is even more notable because it a game released by a Japanese company... although Americans were the primary intended audience.
- Made perhaps more egregious by the fact that Leon's not even there to stop Saddler. He's there to save the president's daughter.
- Resistance: Fall of Man, an Alternate History game based on World War II, with The Virus in place of Nazis and a different timeline. Initially, in the game, the US was an almost totally ineffectual faction whose involvement was restricted to providing supplies due to strong isolationist tendencies. At the last minute, the Americans finally get seriously involved, and have a major role in finally winning things.
- Metal Gear Solid's universe plays with this trope like a cat's cradle. The times when Snake (any of them) is acting as an American agent, the trope is played straight; when Snake is a free agent as part of Philanthropy, the American military is sometimes portrayed as not helping with or contributing to a problem (like the tanker incident in MGS2), and sometimes as coming to Snake's aid (like the U.S.S. Missouri's Big Damn Battleship moment in MGS4). In the end, the United States is just as much at the mercy of the machinations going on behind the scenes as the rest of the world. What it really boils down to: Snake Saves The Day From The Metal Gear Solid 3 Cast.
- Played so straight in America's Army, to the point that not only does your team always appear as U.S. Army infantry while the opposing team appear to be terrorists, players on the opposing team see themselves as being U.S. Army, while your team appear to be the terrorists. Then again, you are playing the official video game of the United States Army, authorized and funded by the United States government.
- In Modern Warfare 2, it's the British again, this time working on taking down a rogue American general who was in command of the troops that got nuked from the first game. That's right, not only is it America Doesn't Save the Day, it's England Saves the Day From America.
- Subverted like crazy in the Mexican-made webcomic PiLLI ADVENTURE, where, more often than not. the Americans (usually two NASA agents) show up just as the day is about to be saved and completely and totally screw things up. They also cause the problem on occasion.
- This is, depending on who you ask, either harshly subverted or simply averted in Survival of the Fittest. Averted because, well, the marines haven't come storming onto the islands to rescue the children at any juncture in any of the three games. However, a subversion could be argued in that, on a number of occasions, a rescue has been teased or hinted at, only for it to prove to be a hallucination or dream.