Created By: arks on November 1, 2010 Last Edited By: arks on November 21, 2010
Troped

Balcony Escape

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Trope
Needs a Better Title, Up for Grabs

I'm sure we have this, but I can't find it. A character needs to get out of a room with one door, but the door is blocked or guarded, so what does he do? He climbs out the window, and hops from balcony to balcony until he can enter another window, or just walks along the ledge on the outside of the building. This technique is also used to enter certain rooms that can't be accessed by using the door.

The entire point is exiting a window and moving along the outside of a building to enter another.

Note: for this to count, the hero needs to

  1. Climb out a window
  2. And use a ledge or balcony on the side of the building
  3. To get to another window.

If he doesn't do all three, it's not this trope.

Rolling Updates

Film

  • In Charade, Cary Grant's character follows an assailant out the window and across a few balconies
  • Silverstein does this in Tiempo De Valientes (an argentine film) to get into the restricted area of SIDE (the argentine intelligence agency).
  • Indy does this in Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade.
  • Subverted in The Matrix. Neo is told to do this, but chokes when he sees the skinny ledge and great height.
  • Maggie Carpenter does this in Runaway Bride to try and avoid getting caught snooping around the reporter's room.
  • In The Naked Gun, Frank Drebbin does this. He needs to grab hold of the carvings of naked men and women to maintain his balance. Hilarity Ensues.
  • A segment of the film Cat's Eye is based on Stephen King's "The Ledge" (listed below).
  • In The Man Who Knew Too Little, Lori escapes from Boris' hotel room this way. Wallace asks why they just don't use the hallway.

Literature
  • Alex Rider does this in Stormbreaker
  • The Stephen King short story "The Ledge" is a very slight variation on this, as the protagonist is forced to circumnavigate the building and return to the same window.

Video Games

  • In Left4Dead 2, the survivors are forced to go out on the ledge to get around a fire.
  • In Grim Fandango, You climb out the window to get into the office next door.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You have to smash a window, then hop across balconies to reach an otherwise blocked-off room.
  • In Paper Mario, to get one of the badges, Mario has to enter one building, climb the stairs, exit through a window onto a ledge, go to the end of that ledge, hop to the next ledge, then enter through a ledge on that building... which has no visible street-level doors, even blocked or locked ones.
  • Required frequently in Splinter Cell.
  • In Assassin's Creed the only way to get into the local offices of the Assassins is to enter from the rooftop. Getting to that rooftop will often mandate some unconventional approaches.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • November 1, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Le Parkour? (based on the updated description I cheerfully withdraw the suggestion.)
  • November 1, 2010
    thegrenekni3t
    In Dracula, Jonathan Harker observes Count Dracula climbing out of one window in his castle, down the sheer wall, and into another. He later duplicates the feat.
  • November 1, 2010
    arks
    I highly doubt Le Parkour is relevant. While it may be a tactic employed by practitioners, it would be very rare, since travel in this manner is often slow and there would be other better ways if you were trained to do them. Also, this isn't often shown as an acrobatic feat.

    I don't think the dracula example counts. This is more horizontal motion rather than vertical. With aid of a ledge or other outcropping attached to the side of a building.
  • November 1, 2010
    NativeJovian
    I think it can be extended to both vertical and horizontal motion as long as it involves leaping from balcony to balcony...

    In World War Z, the Japanese Otaku POV character uses a Bedsheet Ladder to move from balcony to balcony while travelling from his high-rise apartment to the ground floor in order to avoid the zombie-infested hallways and stairwells of the building, gathering tools and supplies from the apartments as he goes.
  • November 1, 2010
    AP
  • November 1, 2010
    TooBah
    Chuck has done this a couple of times.
  • November 1, 2010
    TonyG
    • A common stunt in old westerns involves the hero jumping out of a second story window and landing perfectly on his horse below.
      • Spoofed in a Tex Avery cartoon, where the villain tries it but keeps missing the horse. Eventually, he just moves the horse to where he's landing and jumps again, only to land where the horse originally was.
      • Daffy Duck also tries it in "The Scarlet Pumpernickel", and fails, leading to the classic line, "This never happens to Errol Flynn."
  • November 1, 2010
    arks
    Okay, people. There need to be three parts to this and if all three parts aren't there, then it's not the trope I'm describing. The character needs to:

    1. Climb out a window
    2. And use a ledge or balcony on the side of the building
    3. To get to another window.

    If it doesn't fit all three parts, it's not this trope. Some of your examples aren't even close.
  • November 1, 2010
    alezarate
    Silverstein does this in Tiempo De Valientes (an argentine film) to get into the restricted area of SIDE (the argentine intelligence agency).

    Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade meets the definition, IIRC
  • November 1, 2010
    KTera
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You have to smash a window, then hop across balconies to reach an otherwise blocked-off room.
  • November 1, 2010
    Nyperold
    • In Paper Mario, to get one of the badges, Mario has to enter one building, climb the stairs, exit through a window onto a ledge, go to the end of that ledge, hop to the next ledge, then enter through a ledge on that building... which has no visible street-level doors, even blocked or locked ones.
  • November 1, 2010
    Generality
    Subverted in The Matrix. Neo is told to do this, but chokes when he sees the skinny ledge and great height.
  • November 1, 2010
    depizan
    I'm pretty sure this occurs in both <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086886/">American Dreamer</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079753/">Peter Seller's Prisoner of Zenda</a>

    On second thought, I think only American Dreamer qualifies. The other is, I think, a sheet rope.

    (P.S. How the heck do you make links here?)
  • November 2, 2010
    MasoTey
    The Stephen King short story "The Ledge" is a very slight variation on this, as the protagonist is forced to circumnavigate the building and return to the same window.
  • November 2, 2010
    henke37
    • In Professor Layton and the diabolical box Don Paulo does this, with a makeshift rope made of a curtain.
  • November 2, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Whatshername does this in Runaway Bride, to try and avoid getting caught snooping around the reporter's room. Of course, he knows that she (or someone, at least) is poking through his room and just went and hid in the bathroom. And he does spot her as she's sneaking down the ledge, but she gets away.
  • November 2, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Sorry. By 'whatshername' I mean Maggie Carpenter, and the link should've pointed over here.
  • November 2, 2010
    bbofun
    In Naked Gun, Frank Drebbin does this. He needs to grab hold of the carvings of naked men and women to maintain his balance. Hilarity Ensues.

    The Stephen King story the Ledge, mentioned above, was adapted into a segment of the film Cats Eye.
  • November 2, 2010
    apassingthought
    Video Games: Required frequently in Splinter Cell.
  • November 3, 2010
    arks
    Can someone confirm the Professor Layton example is actually this and not Bedsheet Ladder?
  • November 3, 2010
    NativeJovian
    ^Can't it be both?
  • November 6, 2010
    PaleHorse87
    Video Games
    • In Assassins Creed the only way to get into the local offices of the Assassins is to enter from the rooftop. Getting to that rooftop will often mandate some unconventional approaches.
  • November 6, 2010
    arks
    Bumped so that I can get name suggestions (really, the current name sucks)
  • November 6, 2010
    MetaFour
  • November 12, 2010
    LKtheGreat
    Example that's right on the edge of fulfilling all the criteria: In A Night At The Opera, Groucho climbs out of an opera booth with a balcony-thing and makes his way over to another booth in order to escape. Complete with Tarzan yodel.
  • November 12, 2010
    Prfnoff
    Tintin in America has Tintin jumping from one window (across an impressively depicted skyscraper exterior) to the next one over to surprise an assassin.
  • November 12, 2010
    ProfessorLysander
    Sometimes overlapps with Roof Hopping.
  • November 13, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    Done by Ivan Dragomiloff (Oliver Reed) and Sonya Winter (Diana Rigg) in the film, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd.
  • November 15, 2010
    dotchan
    Occasionally a person doing this will be mistaken for a suicide attempt.
  • November 16, 2010
    ProfessorThascales
    Doctor Who, "Curse of Peladon": Jo Grant does this in a castle, with high heels. I think it was windy too.
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