When a character needs to get from one room to another and the door is not an option, they will climb out the window and either shimmy along the ledge
or jump from balcony to balcony until they can enter another window. Hotels and office buildings are common settings for this kind of stunt. It's also used a lot in stealth missions. The act adds an element of danger without actually requiring the character to be super fit or agile.
A sub trope of The Precarious Ledge
. Compare Bathroom Break-Out
and Lover's Ledge
- 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 and the Last Crusade.
- Joe in Looper tries this and ends up falling a couple stories.
- Subverted in The Matrix. Neo is told to do this to escape the Agents looking for him near the beginning, 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 Drebin 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.
- Attempted in 1408. The protagonist attempts to escape from the cursed room by climbing out the window and going to an adjacent room. Unfortunately for him all the other rooms disappear from the wall of the hotel.
- In That Man From Rio, Adrian tracks his kidnapped girlfriend Agnes to a hotel, where she's kept in one room in a suite with a gunman in the front room. Adrian gets around him by climbing out a corridor window and creeping along a high, narrow ledge to her room.
- In Wicker Park, Lisa escapes from her upset lover across balconies and ends up meeting Alex.
- In Salt, the title character escapes persecution by climbing from the window of her apartment to a neighbor's.
- In Grand Hotel, the Baron burgles a hotel room by climbing from balcony to balcony — then finds his return path blocked when someone emerges onto an adjoining balcony, trapping him in the room at a plot-critical moment.
- In What About Witch Queen? Hans' escape from Koenigsberg starts with him exiting his room through the window and climbing down the castle wall.
- 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.
- Variation happens twice in the Losing Christina series. Book One Christina needs it to get out the Manor to rescue Anya. In Book three she and Val have to use the balcony to escape the fire.
- In Left 4 Dead 2, the survivors are forced to go out on the ledges of the Vannah Hotel to get around the fires.
- 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 I 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.
- James Bond can sneak across a ledge to bypass most of the second mission in Nightfire. Unfortunately, there are windows on the wall with guards on the other side, so he has to be careful.