->'''Dr Elliot:''' If the border to Zaire is closed, how do we get across it?\\
'''Munro:''' Luck!
-->-- ''Film/{{Congo}}''

The endgame of RunForTheBorder. An [[EspionageTropes Espionage Trope]], especially during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar what with the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall and other well-guarded communist frontiers.

Sometimes the border is marked by concrete walls, barbed wire, machine guns, attack dogs, and constantly roving searchlight beams. At other times it's merely a stretch of open water or wilderness, but still [[BorderPatrol patrolled at regular intervals]].

The Checkpoint Charlie version is when this crossing has to be made at an official border control station. In that case the protagonist [[CoverIdentityAnomaly better hope their papers are in order]].

The real [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkpoint_charlie Checkpoint Charlie]] is now a tourist attraction.

Compare MetalDetectorCheckpoint, RoadBlock and WalkIntoMordor.



* In the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, one commercial featured a man and pregnant woman driving through a border check-point. Just after the guard checks their papers and lets them through, the guards get a phone call. A voice yells, "'''GOOOOOAAALLL!!!'''" just as the "pregnant" woman lets a soccer ball fall from under her dress.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TotalRecall1990:'' Quaid has to go through immigration to enter Mars.
* ''Charlie Muffin'' (1979). Charlie's superiors set him up to be arrested when he crosses the Berlin Wall. Fortunately Charlie is suspicious and gives his papers to an East German hoping to escape to the West. The German panics when the arrest takes place and gets killed.
* [[spoiler:Subverted]] in ''Film/{{Monsters|2010}}''. When the protagonists arrive at the huge wall at the US border they [[spoiler:find it abandoned, as the aliens have overrun it]].
* Spoofed in the 1985 action-comedy ''Gotcha'' where the young protagonist has to run the gauntlet of Checkpoint Charlie's {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s. He [[FlippingTheBird flips them the bird]] once he's safely through.
* ''Film/BabylonAD''. Vin Diesel has to cross the Bering Strait on a LiveActionEscortMission, despite it being patrolled by {{Attack Drone}}s that kill everything that moves (literally, the drones killed two polar bears).
* ''Film/JamesBond'':
** In ''Film/TheLivingDaylights'', Bond arranges for a defector to cross the Czechoslovakian border twice -- first by being shunted through a pipeline and on the second occasion by WeaponisedCar. And a cello.
** Even more so, ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'' partially takes place around the border sections near Karl-Marx-stadt (Chemnitz). 009 and [[spoiler:General Orlov]] get killed trying to cross it.
* ''Film/{{Stripes}}''. An Army unit is accidentally led into Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia. Some members of the unit break into the country through a poorly defended border outpost to rescue them, and break out again through the same outpost.
* ''Film/{{Machete}}'' begins with a failed US-Mexico border crossing, serving to demonstrate the villain's [[KillEmAll complete lack of morals]] (and intelligence, as they capture the whole thing on film, with the US Senator helpfully identifying himself as he shoots a pregnant woman).
* ''Film/MenInBlack'' starts with K arresting one of the aliens trying to cross the Mexican border.
* ''Film/TheDebt''. The main characters must cross into East Berlin, and then try to cross back.
* In ''Film/StarWarsANewHope'', Obi-Wan Kenobi gets his party through a Stormtrooper-manned checkpoint because [[JediMindTrick those weren't the droids they were looking for and they didn't need to see their identification]].
* The climax of ''Film/{{Argo}}'' is one of these, made much more dramatic than it was in the real story.
* ''Film/{{Congo}}''. The expedition tries to surmount this problem by flying over the Zaire border, only to be fired on by army units armed with heat-seeking missiles.
* The RealLife Checkpoint Charlie is a critical locale in ''Film/BridgeOfSpies,'' as it is where [[spoiler:American student Frederick Pryor is released, allowing the spy exchange to take place.]]

* ''Literature/TheSpyWhoCameInFromTheCold'' opens with the Checkpoint Charlie version. It doesn't go well -- the spy is gunned down right in front of the protagonist Alec Leamas. At the end an escape route is organised across the Berlin Wall, but the LoveInterest is gunned down in a pre-arranged setup, as is Leamas [[AlwaysSaveTheGirl when he goes back for her]].
* Happens several times in the Literature/{{Quiller}} series, and often mentioned as a NoodleIncident.
* Creator/ErnestHemingway's ''Literature/AFarewellToArms''. Frederic Henry and his LoveInterest have to row across an Italian lake in a storm to Switzerland in order to escape arrest. They see a Guardi patrol boat, but fortunately it doesn't see them.
* ''Literature/{{Friday}}'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein. ActionGirl Friday has to cross the DividedStatesOfAmerica. In one case she knocks down someone repairing a border fence, only for him to follow after her because he wants to escape as well.
* ''[[Literature/BernardSamsonSeries Game, Set & Match]]'' by Creator/LenDeighton. Bernard Samson is haunted by the memory of a friend who performed a HeroicSacrifice while crossing the Berlin Wall, enabling him to escape. This scene is shown in the TV series, as is another incident in which a defector is smuggled across by lying in a [[BuriedAlive coffin-sized box with oxygen feed in the bed of a dump truck, which is then filled up]].
* ''Funeral in Berlin'', also by Creator/LenDeighton, has a defector being smuggled by faking his death and being taken across the Berlin Wall in a coffin. The idea has been reused several times, such as in the TV series ''Series/JasonKing'' and ''Series/MacGyver''.
* ''Literature/TheDogsOfWar'' details how guns are smuggled across the French border -- they can either take the random risk of a permanent customs point, or try a forest road that could be manned by a flying customs check that searches every vehicle.
* The Literature/ModestyBlaise short story "The Giggle Wrecker" has Modesty and Willie trying to sneak a Soviet defector past the Berlin Wall.
* ''We the Living'' by Creator/AynRand ends with the protagonist being killed by a border guard as she tries to escape the Soviet Union.
* Literature/TheGirlWhoCircumnavigatedFairylandInAShipOfHerOwnMaking features a gnome as a border guard for Fairyland who enforces the entry requirements of the Marquess (including allowing Ravished humans in without a visa) and keeping out wind spirits who haven't been granted citizenship yet. She works from inside a kind of {{Steampunk}} gargoyle, since it embodies the authority that makes people willing to put up with customs inspections in the first place (and also doubles up to make humans a bit sensitive to the {{Glamour}} of Fairyland).

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheSandbaggers'' has repeated crossings of the Iron Curtain. In one memorable instance in season 3, one of the main characters gets out of Russia on dodgy papers by going for his passport and accidentally-on-purpose showing the officials a sheaf of dirty photographs instead; they're too busy laughing at him to check his actual passport very thoroughly.
* One episode of ''Series/MacGyver1985'' has a ColdOpen in which Mac is attempting to get out of an Iron Curtain country concealed inside a coffin.
* ''Series/MythBusters'' tested a myth where illegal border-crossers attempted to use a giant portable slingshot to fling people over the U.S. border. The reality of the situation was that any device that ''could'' fling a person as far as the myth stated (300 yards) would have to be implausibly large and not portable at all (the [=MythBusters=] version, which used ''radio towers'', couldn't fling a person that distance), and that doesn't even get into the injuries the people would suffer in making the transition. Long story short: myth Busted.
* In an episode of ''Series/MissionImpossible'', one of the agents (Barbara Bain) is captured in East Berlin. After she is tortured and tells them nothing, the team's leader (Peter Graves) manages to talk them into releasing her. He gives her an overcoat against the cold and they start across to West Berlin when the Germans behind them open fire with machine guns, apparently killing them. They are quite satisfied that it no longer matters who they were or what they were after. When it is clear the agents get up and he explains that he anticipated that and used bulletproof coats. She laughs and says "I thought it felt heavy."
* In ''Series/WhiteRabbitProject'' the team construct a hot-air balloon from scrap metal and sailcloth based on a tale of an East German family escaping over the Berlin Wall that way. They fared much better than the Mythbusters border catapult, as not only did the reconstruction work properly, but the research confirmed that the real people made their escape.

* Mentioned in the song "Oliver's Army" by Music/ElvisCostello.
-->''There was a checkpoint Charlie\\
He didn't crack a smile\\
But it's no laughing party\\
When you've been on the murder mile\\
Only takes one itchy trigger\\
One more widow, [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles one less white nigger]]''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}''. Several adventures feature the runners having to pass through heavily defended borders, either through force or guile.
* Hero Games
** ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' supplement ''Red Doom''. In one of the adventures the superhero {{PC}}s have to smuggle a defecting superhero out of the Soviet Union. If the {{PC}}s head west they'll probably end up trying to cross the East/West German border.
** ''Espionage'' adventure ''Border Crossing''
* ''TabletopGame/TopSecret'' module "Operation Fastpass". The spy {{PC}}s must help a defector escape from behind the Iron Curtain. In order to do so they must get across the border into friendly territory.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps'' multiplayer includes a level named "Berlin Wall", based on the TropeNamer, where the Soviets have abandoned subtlety and smashed the wall with tanks.
* ''VideoGame/PapersPlease'' is a game all about playing a faceless official manning one of these in a fictional Communist nation. With the extra tip of the checkpoint being between [[UsefulNotes/BerlinWall East and West Grestin]].