[[quoteright:320:[[Film/SpaceMutiny http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/railingkill.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320: [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 "I still support]] [[FamousLastWords the railing systeeeeeeeeem!"]]]]
-> If someone is shot, do they really need to stagger towards the nearest railing and topple unconvincingly over it? From our records, it appears they do (sigh).
-->-- Movie Deaths Database, "Falling"

Even [[NoOSHACompliance OSHA compliance]] is no guarantee of safety. A {{mook|s}} (usually) standing behind a railing, usually about waist-height, on an elevated surface who is shot during a firefight will invariably fall forward and flip over the railing, falling to his (presumed) demise, probably [[StockScream Wilhelm]] screaming on the way down. Conversely, someone standing in front of a railing will flip ''backward'' over the railing. This occurs even if the mook was [[BlownAcrossTheRoom shot from the direction of the railing with a weapon that normally throws people violently backwards]]. The phenomenon that causes this is called ''Ledge Gravity'', and specifies that [[GravityIsAHarshMistress people will tend to fall]] in the direction they'll fall furthest because there's more gravity that way.

Although this technique gained prominence in [[TheWestern Westerns]] with the railed balcony on the second story of every building in a dusty town, it can be found in any setting.

If the ledge is high enough, a DisneyVillainDeath may occur.

Not to be confused with people being killed [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice when they land on a spiked railing]].
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Subverted in ''Anime/MaiHime'', where Natsuki fires at Nagi and he appears to have fallen victim, at least until his rail-clinging hands become visible.
* ''Manga/{{Monster}}'': [[spoiler: Tenma shoots Roberto off of a balcony in a library. He survives.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Every [[TheWestern Western]] ever made, with a few exceptions, features a Balcony Drop or a BalconyBustingBlow.
* The {{Trope Nam|ers}}ing film is ''Film/SpaceMutiny'', which really beat this to death. [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 Mike and the Bots]] practically made it a DrinkingGame. Well, they couldn't drink, but they did shout "RAILING KILL!" [[RunningGag every time one happened]].[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]] features another railing kill in their treatment of ''The Deadly Bees,'' where the villain unleashes his [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin deadly bees]] inside his home; in defense, the heroine starts a fire, driving the villain upstairs. He dies when he falls over the railing and into the inferno. Mike quips, "Well, now, you can't blame ''that'' on the bees."
* In Tim Burton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'', gangster Jack Napier fires at Batman, who is intervening in the botched Axis Chemicals job. Batman deflects the bullet with his armored gloves; Napier gets hit by the deflected bullet (which goes through his face and ostensibly results in the nerve damage to his mouth that causes [[SlasherSmile his permanent "smile"]]), tumbles over the railing in the typical way (taking '''a lot''' of steps to do so), and falls into a vat of acid (which permanently bleaches his skin). One quick trip to a back-alley plastic surgeon later, and Jack's dead...but The Joker lives.
* This trope is common in ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** In ''Film/ANewHope'', several stormtroopers fall into the maintenance shafts of the Death Star when shot.
** In ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', an Imperial mook goes over a railing inside the Endor base after getting hit in the face with an improvised projectile. That's sound engineer Ben Burtt (the voice of WesternAnimation/WallE, by the way) who goes over the railing; he even attempts his own version of the [[StockScream Wilhelm Scream]] on the way down.
** In ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'', one of the Jedi in the arena battle is shot by Jango Fett and falls backward over the balcony railing.
** A stormtrooper does this in the ''[[Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial Holiday Special]]'' by stumbling into the railing and falling through it…even though it was designed to prevent the much heavier Wookies from falling to the distant ground.
* Used quite literally in ''Film/TheHobbit''. In Goblin-town, the dwarves take up a handrail and use it to swat whole groups of incoming goblins off a catwalk and into the abyss beneath them.
* Invoked in ''Film/GetShorty'', where two guys intend to kill a third, by removing the bolts holding the railing over the balcony together, so that if one leans on it, they'd fall over, and fall about 40 feet to the ground where it would break their neck, [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident making it look like an accident]]. Then the villain (the one who invoked the trope in the first place) falls victim to it himself after his bodyguard underwent a HeelFaceTurn, pushing him over using ''Travolta himself'' (they were in the middle of framing his character for assault so it wouldn't look like they just killed him.)
* The same technique is used in ''Le Viager'': a man saws through the wooden railing of a second story window in a summer house, hoping to kill the owner. The first person to go on the balcony isn't the owner but the would-be-killer's wife.
* Happens in ''Film/RoboCop1987'' during the particularly one-sided shootout in the drug factory.
* Occurs in the opening firefight in ''Film/GoldenEye'' when several Russian soldiers are attacking Bond and Trevelyan as they plant explosives. One of the guards is shot as he crashes through the door to the staircase leading down to the floor, and his momentum causes him to crash through an oddly-placed gate in the railing...leading to open air.
* Too many instances to be counted in ''Franchise/StarTrek'', both in movies and series. It seems to happen preferably -- although not exclusively -- to Klingons. ("firefight" might mean actually "ship-to-ship battle" in this case…) When the ''Enterprise'' self-destructs and the bridge is exploding around him, one Klingon is thrown violently over the railing in the middle. Does it count as a railing kill [[TakingYouWithMe when even the railing doesn't survive?]]
* Subverted twice in the ''Film/JamesBond'' parody ''Film/OurManFlint''; Flint fights two Mooks on an industrial catwalk, only one side has a railing, the Mooks go off the side that doesn't. Later, villain Rodney goes over a stairway railing, but survives the fall.
* Happens in ''Film/{{Prison}}'', when one of the guards is electrocuted by resident PsychoElectro.
* In ''Film/SuperMarioBrothers'', this happens nearly as often as in ''SpaceMutiny''.
* Happens to a guard in a tower in ''Film/{{Commando}}''.
* A big part of the action scenes in ''Film/{{Banlieue 13}}'' is mooks flubbing jumps into multi-story falls whenever they're not just '''shoved''' over railings. One [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill memorable kill]] was shoved over a stairwell, '''''smacking against each railing on each side all the way down.'''''
* A nameless Indian in ''Literature/TheLastOfTheMohicans'' is shot far into the air above a cliff because of this trope, uttering a WilhelmScream on the way down.
* Happens in ''Film/AustinPowers'' a few times, which makes sense considering it's a ''Film/JamesBond'' parody.
* When the [[EliteMooks Einsatzkommando]] attempt to arrest Glaeken in ''Film/TheKeep'', he responds to this by dishing out a truly epic railing kill to the one who tries to grab hold of him, chucking him over a bridge railing and down a big bottomless gorge. In slow motion, no less!

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' novel ''Ethan of Athos'', the heroine shoots a mook with a ''non-lethal'' stunner--but he happens to be standing on a high catwalk at the time, resulting in a more literal than usual example of the trope.
-->'''Quinn''': Gee, I feel really bad about that. I've never killed a man by accident before. Unprofessional.
** She doesn't feel ''too'' bad about it though, since the guy she killed has murdered dozens of people, and he was on the catwalk to arrange an "accidental" death for Ethan.
* OlderThanPrint, though on a bridge: In ''Le Morte d'Arthur'', Galahad, at one point, knocks a man off a bridge. He survives by landing on a boat, and is never heard of again.
* In ''Literature/CaptiveOfTheRedVixen'' The only casualty during the Red Vixen's attack on Rolas' ship is a crewman who fell over a railing in engineering after being stunned. And she punishes the pirate responsible.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The two-story saloon version is parodied in a dream/fantasy sequence in an episode of ''Series/FamilyMatters'', in which Carl Winslow mortally wounds a bandit version of Urkel on the first floor of the establishment, who then dramatically makes his way around the set, climbing up the stairs, only to fall through the railing into a table on the ground level right next to where he started.
* Although he survives with minor injuries, this happens to Silar in the ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode ''Upgrades'', when Jack O'Neill accidentally pushes him off the stairs and over a railing. (Silar is also played by the series stunt coordinator)
* John Hart pulls one of these on Jack Harkness in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', killing him. Jack, being Jack, comes back to life.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'', "Planet of the Ood" - [[spoiler: Dr Ryder reveals he's a member of Friends of the Ood who infiltrated the slave trade and has been helping their HiveMind reassert itself. Mr Halpen promptly pushes him over a railing and into the enormous Ood Brain.]]
* Happens in the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "War Stories", when the {{mook|s}} whom Mal is fighting is [[NoKillLikeOverkill shot repeatedly by several of Mal's crewmembers]] and plummets to his death. He bounces off at least two girders and gets ''bisected'' by a saw on his way down.
* Done by a ''zombie'' in episode 2.03 of ''Series/TheWalkingDead''.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Suspect," when Lionel Luthor is shot, he falls over the balcony railing onto a glass table, which [[DramaticShattering shatters dramatically]].
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'': Happens in TheTeaser to "The Pawn". A dissident is shot by the authorities and pitches forward over a fire escape railing.
* In the TV adaptation of ''Literature/TheTripods'', Will and Fritz kill three Black Guards during their escape from the Master's city this way.
* Used for ObscuredSpecialEffects in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. An Initiative scientist is killed this way in "Primeval", pulled over the railing with CombatTentacles by an [[NothingIsScarier unseen monster]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Magazines ]]

* ''WebOriginal/TheOnion'' parodied [[http://www.theonion.com/content/node/43699 a variation]] on this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: New Media ]]

* During the Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses[=/=][=MST4K=] [[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/bt/aj/ajs/14481-rdrag riffing]] of the Chinese ''Manga/DragonBall'' movie, [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]], a professed fan of ''[=MST3K=]'', declares a railing kill.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* One ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' comic features this, in a Western parody: "And Jed, if you do get plugged, for gosh sakes don't just slump over and die. Put some drama into it and throw yourself screaming from the edge."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The computer game ''VideoGame/CounterStrike: Condition Zero - Deleted Scenes'' features one guy on a roof who, if shot, will fall off and be impaled on a fence. To be honest, this trope is one of that game's biggest "features".
* The ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' series of video games (especially the first game), where almost all enemies standing behind railings will flip to their deaths.
* Very common in ''VideoGame/NoOneLivesForever'' and its sequel where elevated enemies all have the same railing animation (double over at the waist), even if they fall off a platform ''without'' a railing. Hilarious. There's also one instance of being ''saved'' by a railing kill: You're over a water tank with a shark and your catwalk is retracting. Some nearby henchmen on a railing above you start shooting. Shoot back, they topple into the water, the shark eats them and not you, letting you swim to safety.
* The physics engine in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' allows for defeated foes to end up slumped over railings, although goofiness sometimes occurs and leaves a body dangling by a foot or even a hand that somehow got caught.
* In one of the ''VideoGame/ChzoMythos'' games, you have to dispose of [[spoiler:a possessed starship captain]] this way.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear''
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'''s Tanker chapter, there's a door in the hallway with the Raven action figure that opens to reveal a guard with his back to Snake, facing a railing. If shot, he'll fall over it. If you time it just right, [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything he'll fall onto one of the patrolling guards below, killing him too]].
** In the first ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', there is a level with two elevators that Snake must take downward. As he descends, armed guards jump down to do battle with him. However, instead of engaging in the rather annoying task of dodging their bullets and shooting them all down, you can simply run up to them and punch/throw them over the edge of the railing for an instant kill. The only disadvantage is that you don't get the items they drop.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'''s [[GameEngine Source engine]] actually features an entity (named [[http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Phys_ragdollmagnet Phys_ragdollmagnet]]) created ''explicitly'' for recreating this effect in-game. Considering how many game engines throw dead bodies over railings, this could be a common feature of many engines.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}'' series of games (Or ''Blood Money'' at least) pushing someone into a railing causes them to fall over it, and their death will be considered an accident by anyone discovering the body (no matter how many other 'accidental' or overtly-suspicious deaths may have occurred on the premises since your arrival). It kills them even when [[DeathByFallingOver the rail is three feet off the ground]].
* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** In ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Academy]]'', one mission starts with Force-pushing a rock out of the way. The rock then flies right into someone who falls over a small ledge in this way. Similarly, Force-pushing someone over a railing.
** In ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Outcast]],'' in the Nar Shadda level, shooting down a rooftop sniper will cause him to plummet from the roof down through a window on the building in front of him. The game's coding would deliberately make any enemy near a cliff tumble off of it. This can have amusing results when a stormtrooper is incredibly far away from a ledge, but seems to leap off of it anyways.
** In ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheEmpire'', any kills scored on a mook sufficiently close to an edge will result in them falling over, Wilhelm-screaming. There may or may not be railings involved.
** In ''VideoGame/RebelAssault2'', killing a [[{{mooks}} stormtrooper]] near a bottomless pit will almost always cause this to happen, accompanied by a WilhelmScream.
* In ''VideoGame/FableII'', Luring someone onto the top floor of a building and using the force push spell, or merely launching them over the edge with a well-executed flourish attack.
* A variation occurs in ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters: Future Perfect'' in the level aboard the [[spoiler: underwater base]]. At a certain point, the player finds a chasm with buildings and walkways built into the cliff walls. In one area, shooting an [[ExplodingBarrels explosive barrel]] causes a mook to be launched over the railing, over the chasm, and landing on his crotch on the railing next to the player, at which point he slides off to his doom.
* Variation in ''VideoGame/PredatorConcreteJungle''. One of the [[OneHitKill Fatalities]] available to you is to snap somebody's back against a railing.
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil''
** Will happen in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' if you fire at an enemy on a ledge. You are expected to do it during a number of sequences as a shortcut way of dispatching enemies, although outside of these specific places it isn't always an instant kill. It's even more amusing with Militia mooks because of the "NOOOOOOOOO" they scream while falling. No combination of attacks will ever send an enemy over an actual railing, however, even when their momentum clearly should have them tumbling over it.
** In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'', Ada knocks Annette over a railing, but doesn't kill her. Later she herself falls over a rail to her [[DisneyDeath "death"]] after being shot by Annette.
* In ''TheBourneConspiracy'', one of Jason's hand-to-hand environmental takedowns is to smash the head of his opponent off a railing, and the casually flip the mook ''over'' the railing.
* Used to a ridiculous extent in ''VideoGame/ShadowComplex''. Every enemy you kill near a rail goes flying over it to his doom, {{Wilhelm|Scream}}ing the whole way down. As it is a 2.5D game, they often fall hilariously into hazards or off-screen. The best part? There's an achievement for causing a certain amount of enemies to scream as they fall over railing and off ledges.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' makes taking out above enemies a breeze due to most enemies in higher ground's tendency to do this.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather: The Game'', you gain the Watch Your Step [[FinishingMove Execution Style]] by taking advantage of the NoOSHACompliance to knock people off railings.
* Due to the [[{{BFG}} sheer power]] of guns in most ''VideoGame/{{Turok}}'' games, it usually combos with BlownAcrossTheRoom and sometimes as a reflection shot. Case in point, using the [[RuleOfCool 'charged up' alt-fire of the shotgun]] against a lighter enemy like a mantid will fling him so hard against the railing behind him he'll rebound off that and fly over the one he was just leaning over like he hit a rubber bar. And that's if [[{{Gorn}} he didn't split in half upon impact]] or get blown clear over it by a higher angled shot. Happens a little less often in Unreal, too, especially with the vehicular weapons, shock rifle, and lightning sniper rifle. One specific Turok pistol can also do this for heavy enemies, but usually just splits the smaller ones in half or removes as much as a rocket would. [[RuleOfFunny (It's a VERY strong pistol.)]] All of these do fall more towards the 'mass' than 'penetration' side of things though.
* In ''VideoGame/RedSteel'', shooting anyone in the general vicinity of a railing causes them to keel over it and die.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'', guards can be thrown off rooftops with or without railings; in ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII 2]]'' this is a convenient way of killing since it doesn't raise your notoriety.
* In ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'', there is a guard in the Chicago level standing on an emergency staircase. His death is pre-scripted as a railing kill. Several of the snipers in the Villa level will fall off the roof when shot.
* ''VideoGame/{{GoldenEye|Wii}}'' features plenty of convenient railings for guards.
* Possible in multiple locations of ''RiseToHonor'' and is an insta-kill. The catch is the bad guys can do it too...
* In ''VideoGame/WingCommander IV'', two deckhands are dramatically sent over a railing by an explosion in the scene where Blair, Eisen, Maniac and Vagabond first arrive aboard the BWS Intrepid. [[SlowMotionFall In slow motion]].
* Can happen in ''Franchise/MassEffect'', especially in [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 the second game]] with its version of the Throw power. At high levels, if your enemy is near a railing and Throw hits them in the head or upper torso, there's a good chance they'll be smacked over and off the railing. Sometimes, even a high railing won't help if the Throw projectile manages to connect at an upwards angle, sending the victim flying in a high arc. It's been known to happen as a gratuitous finisher to ThatOneBoss in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC in particular. There are even several places in the second game where enemies stand looking out over the edge with their back to the direction you're coming from. The only way it could be a more obvious set up would be if you overheard one of them commenting on how much it would suck to get thrown over the ledge. Can even happen to your player character if you're killed by an enemy that throws you around near a long drop. (Sometimes you'll fall straight off the level map into blackness.)
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' gives you a few opportunities to do this with the Batclaw, which lets you grab an enemy with your grappling hook and yank him over the ledge. A few Predator challenges require you to do this. There's also the Ledge Takedown, where Batman jumps up from the ledge he's hanging from, grabs a henchman, and flips him over the railing. A ''slight'' subversion in that, as per Batman's [[ThouShaltNotKill rule]], this doesn't actually kill anybody, although it does dispatch them for more or less the same effect.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: VideoGame/DawnOfWar II'', troops killed while in a building are somehow thrown out the windows.
* Possible in ''VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon'', most often due to the [[WreakingHavok wonky physics]]. There's even one Replica soldier who attacks you from a catwalk early on and is scripted to ''leap over'' the railing and fall down a pit when you kill him.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'': In Meet the Sniper, the BLU Demoman is hit in the eye by a piece of his bottle. He then stumbles around, blindly shooting grenades into the air, bumps into a railing and falls over it. In game, the KnockBack caused by certain weapons can also result in people taking fatal fall damage or falling into {{Bottomless Pit}}s.
* Due to the conversion of overkill damage to momentum, any stealth/archer or destruction mage character in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' or ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' is bound to get a railing kill or two as they make their way through the game. Also, anybody who uses [[MakeMeWannaShout Unrelenting]] [[BlownAcrossTheRoom Force]] heavily will do this a lot, since blasting somebody off a cliff or balcony is an easy kill. FUS RO DAH!
* The way to defeat opponents in ''VideoGame/UrbanChampion'' is to punch them into a open sewer manhole.
* [[FinalBoss Shredder]] dies this way in ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTurtlesInTime''. Also combined with DisneyVillainDeath.
* ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' is set in a [[PunkPunk Steampunk]] [[WorldInTheSky City In The Sky]]. Expect plenty of this.
* Can happen in ''VideoGame/{{Tomb Raider|2013}}''. Using the rope arrow on a mook standing on a balcony will cause Lara to yank him off the ledge (and in at least one case you can do this by ''pulling down the balcony itself''). Mooks can also tumble over balconies when shot, and StuffBlowingUp (grenades, making someone [[OhCrap drop dynamite]] by [[HoistByHisOwnPetard shooting them before they can throw it]], shooting ExplodingBarrels, etc.) can fling them over ledges as well.
* The player can do this to enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' due to the [[WreakingHavok Havok engines]] used for physics. Sometimes enemies, especially those hit with weapons with high KnockBack, will fall back over a railing... sometimes, quirks of the physics engine will cause dead enemies to fling themselves twenty feet horizontally and over conveniently low railings, [[CherryTapping even if you killed them with a BB gun]]. Given the mixture of seriousness and silliness inherent in the games and their setting, this isn't quite as immersion-breaking or out of place as it might seems.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Wolfenstein 2009}}'', this seems to be programmed in. Whenever you kill an enemy near a railing, they will stagger over to it and flip over, screaming.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' Agatha sent [[spoiler:Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!]] over the board of an [[CoolAirship airship]]. The embarrassing part of the incident is that she did it within a hour after yelling at Gil for doing [[DestinationDefenestration almost exactly the same]]. This guy "''does'' that to people".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''WebVideo/LedgeFighters'' ''is'' this trope.
* During the Ebony Devil mini-arc in ''WebVideo/VaguelyRecallingJoJo'', Silver Chariot rapidly stabs Cursed Devo nearby a Singapore Hotel balcony. Cursed Devo goes on a rant on how he managed to curse Polnareff and falls off the railing before yelling, "Damn you, Polnareff!" DIO saw that and looked concerned for Cursed Devo's health. [[spoiler: Devo survives and has lunch with DIO and [[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney Franziska Von Karma]], which gets ruined because of Cursed Devo's synchronization with Ebony Devil.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Played straight with Scarlet and Black in ''WesternAnimation/GerryAndersonsNewCaptainScarlet''. [[NighInvulnerability They Got Better]], naturally.
* Happens to the crazy cat in the ''WesternAnimation/SquirrelBoy'' episode "Gumfight at the S'Okay Corral", which parodies Western tropes.

[[/folder]]

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