A character ejects or leaps from a plane overhead with a parachute. Before they hit the ground, they pull their parachute and fall slowly to the ground. All is well: soon they'll be safe and sound on the ground.
...If it weren't for that pesky breeze pushing them over towards that cluster of trees. Instead of landing on their feet, the character's parachute snags in the branches and he becomes stuck, dangling helplessly in the air.
If the fall isn't particularly high, the character may try to cut themselves down. Otherwise, they will probably need someone else's help to get down.
This trope covers any situation in which a parachute or similar object snags on something and leaves the owner dangling in the air. It doesn't have to be a tree, it can be a tower, lamppost, cables, or anything else that a parachute could snag on.
See also Improvised Parachute
and Puny Parachute
. Rarely used in conjunction with a Parasol Parachute
or Parachute Petticoat
- A coffee shop commercial includes an unlucky woman's parachute becoming entangled in the only tree in a large field.
- Blair Williams from Terminator Salvation is introduced dangling from a derelict pylon by her parachute. She tries to cut herself free, despite the large drop, but Marcus Wright grabs her before she can fall from her harness.
- In The Crazies (The Remake) they find the long-dead skeletal remains of a pilot who had this problem after ejecting.
- The Longest Day includes a scene where a paratrooper becomes snagged on a French church spire. This incident is based on one from the real world, see below for more information.
- Jurassic Park 3, a character falls victimto this and is later found half-eaten and still dangling from the canopy.
- In Force 10 From Navarone, this happens to Corporal Miller during a parachute drop over Yugoslavia. A german soldier nearly shoots him before he is saved by Sergeant Weaver.
- This is how the other characters encounter Edwin, the doctor, in Predators.
- This happens to a trainee spy in the opening sequence of The Living Daylights.
- A fatal example of this occurs in The Bridge on the River Kwai.
- In The Dirty Dozen, Jiminez breaks his neck this way during a drop in France.
- Brian Eno 's song 'Mother Whale Eyeless' includes the line "Parachutes caught on steeples".
- The 'monster' in Lord of the Flies is actually a dead parachuter.
- Flight Of The Intruder: Jake Grafton not only ends up hanging from a tree after ejecting, but has the further indignity to somehow end up hanging from his parachute upside down. Fortunately, he was hanging only a foot or so off the ground.
- In The Drew Carey Show Tim Allen (As Himself) gets stuck in the tree in Drew's back yard after a failed parachute publicity stunt. Drew doesn't cut him down since the idea of having a celebrity stuck in your tree is funnier than letting him leave.
- The Dad'sArmy episode 'Time On My Hands' centres on the characters efforts to pull down a german pilot whose parachute is caught on the town clock.
- In one episode of The Young Ones, after moving into a new house, Mike discovers Buddy Holly, still alive and guitar in hand, hanging from a parachute in one of the rooms. He has apparently been there since 1959 (23 yeas at that point). Mike tries to capitalise on the songs Buddy has thought up since then only for the parachute to give way and Holly fall screaming through the floor.
- Full House: When Jesse goes skydiving, his parachute gets stuck in a tree, causing him to be late to his own wedding.
- This happens in the first Call of Duty. Interesting to note that the very first battle of the game takes place in St.-Mere-Eglise, the town mentioned in the real life section below.
- In Band of Brothers the men of Easy Company find a dead paratrooper caught in a tree.
- This also occurs in one of the first levels of Medal Of Honour Frontline.
- A parachute in a tree, sans passenger, is how Solid Snake can learn that Liquid is alive after his helicopter was blown up in Metal Gear Solid. Snake believes it was left there intentionally as a coded threat by Liquid.
- This is how one first arrives in Sholazar Basin in Worldf Warcraft.
- Corpses of paratroopers hanging from trees are frequently found in Left 4 Dead 2. Upgraded weapons can be found on their bodies.
- The above example from The Longest Day is based on something that really happened: during D-Day, a paratrooper named John Steele became snagged on the church spire at St.-Mere-Eglise and played dead for two hours before being cut down and taken prisoner by the germans. The church still has a monument to him and the other paratroopers, in the form of a statue of a paratrooper dangling from the spire.
- This is Truth in Television, and the military have taken steps to prevent it. Pilots are equipped with hooked knives for slicing throught their parachute cords if this becomes a problem and some parachutes have releasable extended lines so that you can reach the ground if you ar too high up to get down or risk a fall.