A man carries a woman in his arms — one arm under her legs and the other supporting her back like a groom carrying his bride. It usually denotes or foreshadows a romantic relationship between the characters or a major difference in their physical strength or both. It's also called a princess carry.
Variations of this trope are common and include:
When the participants aren't
romantically involved, expect fans to cite this as "proof"
that they really are.
A guy must be very careful when treating an Action Girl
like this, especially if they're not involved. If asked properly or if the circumstances justify it, she may accept if she's indeed too hurt to walk. Other than that, she's likely to refuse. No matter what, he shouldn't force it on her, else he may incur a less than grateful reaction
. Slinging them over the shoulder in a Fireman Carry will avoid the romantic implications but not the complaining.
If the person being held is injured, dead or dying, it may cross over into Pietà Plagiarism
. Usually coexists with rescue tropes like Rescue Romance
and Embarrassing Rescue
. See also Security Cling
. Contrast Over-the-Shoulder Carry
and Effortless Amazonian Lift
Carrying someone like this (especially in the Pietà Plagiarism
style) should only be done if you are entirely sure they are not suffering from neck or back injuries, whether pre-existing or new. It provides little (in the Pietà Plagiarism
) support for the neck and little support for the spine (supporting some areas while stressing many others), and can leave someone with anything from chronic pain to quadriplegia or death
, none of which are very romantic and all of which are negligent enough to get a rescuer sued. Carrying someone with pre-existing healed neck or back injuries can
possibly be done safely this way using the head resting shoulder variant if
their neck is properly braced (since the combination of brace + positioning serves as support) but it's generally a good idea, outside of extreme emergencies, to leave moving people with spinal cord injuries who can't move under their own power up to the paramedics and/or people trained in proper care for them.
Not to be confused with Tribal Carry
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck 8C: Hearts of the Yukon, Scrooge is about to rescue a fainted Goldie from a burning building... when a chunk of ice from a frozen fire hose knocks him out cold. So Goldie "comes to" and saves him instead.
- Empowered with a traumatized Ninjette.
- Also, sometimes ThugBoy with Emp, and (in a dream/Imagine Spot) ThugBoy with Sistah Spooky.
- Hulkling sometimes carries Wiccan like this in Young Avengers. Not often, since Wiccan can fly, but occasionally.
- Spider-Man: Appropriately enough, when Peter Parker and M.J. Watson came back from their honeymoon, he carried her across the threshold in one arm while balancing their suitcases in the other. MJ's reaction: "I always dreamed of being carried across the threshold, but one hand? That's class!"
- Played straight in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8, when an injured Oz carries an even worse injured Bayarmaa off the (still-raging) battlefield this way.
- Genderflipped in the New Teen Titans books, where alien princess Starfire often flew around carrying her boyfriend Nightwing.
- Carol Danvers often genderflips this, particularly in recent years.
- Dave Berg of MAD once made a strip about this trope. The bride asks the groom whether he'll carry her, and he replies that this is an obsolete custom from the time when men used to steal their brides. The bride thinks about it and then remembers that she actually "stole" him from "some tramp", and the strip ends with her carrying him.
- Similar to the Shrek example cited below, one The Far Side comic shows Frankenstein's Monster carrying his Bride through the door crossways, her head and feet having knocked holes right through the wall.
- In two separate alternate timelines in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf where Smurfette is married to someone, her husband picks her up and carries her out of the kitchen, supposedly into the bedroom.
- In the Crack Fic A Charmed Life Ryuk does this quite frequently with Light.
Films — Animation
- Double subverted in the second Shrek film, where Shrek bashes Fiona into the doorframe, breaking right through the wall.
- Delightfully spoofed via Gender-Inverted Trope in Monsters vs. Aliens. A cheerleader type is trying to seduce an athletic jock in a car when the alien robot crashes nearby, and we have a great shot of the girl running holding her boyfriend in her arms.
- Not exactly "carrying", but Peter Pan catches Wendy a couple of times like this. Later, he does the same with Wendy's daughter Jane in the sequel Return to Neverland.
- There are several examples in Robot Carnival: Starlight Angel has a flying scene with a robot and a girl; Deprive has a cyborg and a girl, etc., etc.
- Toy Story 3 does this between Spanish Buzz and Jessie. He was saving her from falling trash.
- Minion carries Megamind into the office threshold style.
- In Treasure Planet, Dr. Doppler carried Captain Amelia to B.E.N.'s lair this way, with B.E.N. commenting on the implications.
- In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, has a gender-flipped version in the scene when the gang are on dry land and are crossing the road trying to avoid the bicyclists and skaters and Sandy carries Squidward in her arms to safety.
Films — Live-Action
- In the film An Education, David does this to Jenny.
- An Officer and a Gentleman is the Trope Codifier. Cue the Joe Cocker song. "Love lift us up where we belong, where the eagles fly on a mountain high..."
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. When Syrena's box breaks, and she gains legs, Philip carries her. It's quite touching.
- The Man With Two Brains. Twice. The first time, Dr. Hfuhruhurr waits hours in the pose for the photos to be developed before letting his new bride down, and then, in the finale, had problems carrying her through since, well, Anne had an eating problem when she had her own body. Hilarity Ensues, but it's a Heartwarming Moment because Hfuhruhurr doesn't care about her weight.
- Edward likes to carry Bella around like this a lot in Twilight, apparently because he thinks she's incapable of walking without hurting herself.
- In Shallow Hal, Hal tries this with Rosemary, but she's too heavy for him. She carries him instead.
- Willoughby carries Marianne home like this after she sprains her ankle in Sense and Sensibility.
- The Glenn Miller Story: Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson's characters do this of the bride & groom variety.
- In the 1998 The X-Files: Fight the Future, Mulder carries Scully towards the exit of the giant spaceship they're on in this way.
- Friday Night Lights had Tim do this with his newly-paralyzed friend Jason, just so Jason could be out of his wheelchair for a little while. Jason comments that maybe he should just have Tim carry him everywhere from then on.
- After Rocky marries Adrian in Rocky II he carries her all the way home from the church like this. When she tells him it's unnecessary, he says it's good for the arms.
- Batman does this to Rachel in Batman Begins. The scene was also the basis for one of the film posters, in which it was not clear if Rachel was dying or merely unconscious.
- Done (with two guys, obviously) on the poster for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Bonus points for Kevin James wearing a fireman's hat.
- Played for Laughs in the Chris Columbus film Nine Months, wherein Hugh Grant's character very nearly wrecks out his back carrying his very pregnant bride across the threshold.
- Superman does this many times.
- The newlyweds in Rear Window first enter their new apartment normally, getting everything settled with the landlord. Then they walk out just so he can carry her in this way.
- In Trial of The Incredible Hulk, a curious scene happens where the Hulk rescues Daredevil from the Kingpin and carries him to safety... exactly like this.
- Space Mutiny. The beefy hero does this to his Love Interest after she mentions marriage. Other than that, there's no apparent reason to carry her to another part of the set that way.
- Horatio Hornblower:
- One cute Plucky Middie gets carried by another sailor when he's injured.
- When Lady Barbara gets sick, Captain Hornblower takes her into his arms and carries her below-deck.
- In Lemonade Joe, Doug Badman carries his love Tornado Lou into her room when she fainted.
- In Film/The Long, Long Trailer, the groom does this—and bumps her head on the doorframe. Also, because he's shy about their being newlyweds, he tells the other guests at the trailer park that she's twisted her ankle—and all the women start fussing over her.
- Done in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when Truly Scrumptious accidentally runs her car into a pond and Caractacus Potts comes to her rescue. Truly is at first reluctant to accept his help, likely due to the romantic connotations associated with this.
Caractacus: I'm going to carry you.
Truly: Oh dear. Must you?
Caractacus:Well, unless you'd rather ride piggyback.
- Anita Blake is shaken up by doing some "major magic" with a werewolf and drops her machismo long enough to let Jean-Claude carry her this way. Both think it's kind of romantic until Anita notices... something... about Jason's pants....
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Astreus carries Miranda in this fashion.
- In Everworld, Christopher does this to his injured Love Interest Etain as they escape from the battle. His narration notes that it must have looked like a scene from a corny romance novel.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Number One carries Virginia off like this. Number Thirteen rescues her, and knowing no better, carries her in the same manner.
Now that he had won her, what was he to do with her? He was but an adult child, with the brain and brawn of a man, and the ignorance and inexperience of the new-born. And so he acted as a child acts, in imitation of what it has seen others do. The brute had been carrying the lovely creature, therefore that must be the thing for him to do, and so he stooped and gathered Virginia Maxon in his great arms.
- In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy carries Marguerite like this to get to the boat.
And his arms, still vigorous in spite of fatigue and suffering, closed round Marguerite's poor, weary body, and lifted her as gently as if she had been a feather.
- Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The Durbervilles sees Angel Clare carrying the eponymous heroine this way. It's one of the things that makes her realise her feelings for him.
- In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Haunted Lighthouse", Superman lifts Jimmy Olsen under the knees and back when saving him from drowning.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel carries Buffy like this in "Halloween" (after a spell causes Buffy to act like a Damsel in Distress), while Buffy carries her little sister Dawn to escape Glory in "Spiral". Justified as both characters have Super Strength.
- Gender-flipped at the end of "What's My Line, Part 2," when a freshly-healed Drusilla hoists Spike out of a charred pile of rubble, scoops him into her arms and walks off.
- Giles briefly carries a sick Buffy like this in the Season 1 episode "Witch".
- Xander carries an injured Anya this way at the end of "The Gift". As he'd proposed marriage to her earlier in the episode, it's likely for Rule of Symbolism as well.
- The Benny Hill Show:
- Benny's character marries a girl who gains a lot of weight as soon as they get past the ceremony, and he can barely carry her over the threshold afterward.
- In another sketch, Benny Hill's character is carrying his new bride into their new home when he has to stop so the bride can carry on a long conversation with a neighbor.
- In another sketch Benny plays an actor who is carrying his new (fat) bride across the threshold, but she keeps messing up her line so he has to carry her out and back in again and again and again.
- In the episode "The One After Vegas", Monica and Chandler have decided they aren't ready to get married, but keep seeing "signs" that they should. At one point, Monica's hurt her leg, so Chandler gathers her up and carries her into her apartment, before they realise what they're doing.
- Another episode had Ross and Rachel parodying An Officer and a Gentleman: Rachel kept having to go back for stuff, so in the end Ross just dumped her on the couch.
- In "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS", Chandler carries Monica into the hallway, but bangs her head against the doorframe.
- Played with in an episode of Home Improvement when Jill insists that Tim carry her like this, unaware that he'd pulled a groin muscle earlier. It doesn't end well.
- An episode of Scrubs from Dr Kelso's perspective had two parodies of An Officer and a Gentleman with Kelso's Asian Babymama gathering him up in her arms while "Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong" plays in Vietnamese.
- Inverted again in the last scene of the (intended) series finale which involves JD imagining scenes of what his future will be like, including getting married to Elliot, who bridal carries him.
- Used in the prequel season 6 of Kaamelott. Guenièvre insists that Arthur carry her that way after their marriage "because it's romantic." Not just to go through a treshold, mind you, but as long as possible. After some long, agonizing minutes, Arthur finally drops her like a sack of potatoes as he gets exhausted and his back gives up.
- When Anna of Chuck falls over and is in danger of being trampled during a store evacuation, Morgan runs heroically to her and carries her out of the shop in this manner, to cries of "What are you doing, Morgan? Put me down!" He has no answer when a fellow employee asks why he carried her out when she could have just walked.
- Clark does this a lot to people in Smallville.
- Chloe, many times: Dichotic, Rush, Arrival, Noir
- Lana, many times: X-Ray, Nicodemus, Vortex, Reckoning
- Victoria in Shimmer.
- Sasha in Drone.
- Kyla in Skinwalker.
- In Mock the Week: Unlikely Letters for an Agony Aunt. "Dear Diedre: Can that giant man lift me up like a baby?" You bet your ass he can!
- In the Korean Drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal, when Sun Joon rescues Yoon Hee after she falls into the river.
- Doctor Who:
- A non-romantic example: the Fourth Doctor carried everyone in his arms, since at 6'3 he was almost always bigger than them.
- The Tenth Doctor staggers down the hall with an unconscious Martha in "Smith and Jones". Since the crisis was over and he'd lost a litre or two of blood, you wonder why he made the effort.
- The promo pictures for Series 7 showed the Eleventh Doctor carrying the very tall Amy Pond in his arms. Some fans took exception to this, and inverted the image.
- Dean does this to Jo in Supernatural after she is attacked by a hellhound.
- In The Borgias, Cesare carries a sleeping Lucrezia to her bed after she passes out during her wedding reception.
- Arthur from Merlin carries Morgana to the physician's quarters like this after she's hit her head after falling down a flight of stairs.
- When Elizabeth Weir unexpectedly collapses on Stargate Atlantis, John Sheppard carries her to the infirmary this way.
- During the Stargate Universe episode where the Destiny is invaded by the Lucian Alliance, Eli has to carry a wounded Chloe this way. He jokes that this kind of exercises could easily get him to lose some weight and that they should do it more often.
- There's some subtext here too, in that he is the Romantic Runner-Up who hasn't yet gotten over his crush on her.
- In the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Buying a Bed", a man carries his bride like this across a field, then on the streets of a city through traffic, until they arrive to a large department store.
- In The City Hunter, Yun Sung carries Na Na up the stairs to her apartment after she's sprained her ankle.
- Chuck carries Blair up the stairs this way in a season four episode of Gossip Girl.
- In Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin unwittingly saves Belle in this fashion after she falls off a ladder.
- In one episode, Hook carries Emma this way. Justified since she was freezing to death and too weak to walk to a hospital.
- Twisted in Chinese Paladin: Xiao Yao sweeps his wife Ling'er off her feet and carries her away from danger...after having paralyzed her with a nerve jab to prevent her from taking part in the fighting.
- Marshall carries Lily this way into their new apartment in How I Met Your Mother.
- In one of the Halloween episodes of Community, the each member of the group shares a Halloween story. In Annie's, Vampire!Jeff carries her into a cabin this way. In Troy's, he uses a frame-by-frame duplicate from Annie's story to carry a wounded Abed into a cabin in the same manner.
- Heart wrenchingly in the season two finally of Hell On Wheels.
- The Daily Show got the armed forces to carry correspondents down office corridors on two occasions, to the tune of "Love lifts us up where we belong": Colbert by a Rear-Admiral, and Sam Bee by a Captain. The latter doubled as a Take That to the arguments that female soldiers' are physically too weak to be allowed active service.
- In episode 42 of Kamen Rider Fourze, Kamen Rider Meteor carries Tomoko this way after they're released from the Dark Nebula.
- "The Duchess and the Devil" from Horatio Hornblower has two sailors in this classic position, and it's Played for Drama. Horatio carries his friend Archie Kennedy in his arms when he realized that Archie has been starving himself. He tries to get help for him from Don Massaredo, the commander of the Spanish prison they're in. Conveniently, it's also raining and it looks very dramatic.
- Wives and Daughters: An utterly tragic use of this trope: Squire Hamley carries his dead son Osborne in his arms. He died outside alone and he wants to bring him home.
- This Stock Pose can be seen several times in Cranford; mostly with brides and grooms, but also when a father carries his ill daughter.
- Happens in The O.C. pilot episode, when Marissa drinks until she is unconscious. Her friends ditch her in front of her house and after they leave, love interest Ryan carries her inside.
- Again in the first season episode "The Escape" in which Marissa downs a bottle of sleeping pills with a shot of tequila after finding out that her parents were getting a divorce and her boyfriend Luke cheated on her. She stumbles into an alley and the episode ends with Ryan picking her up.
- Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" music video starts with a groom carrying a bride into their new home.
- The backglass for Jack*Bot shows Pin Bot carrying The Bride in his arms, while simultaneously holding a handful of cards.
- Assassin's Creed. In the second game, Ezio has to carry Rosa to safety after she finally collapses from an arrow wound to her leg. After running and fighting with an arrow sticking out of her leg for quite a distance, mind you.
- Beat rescues Rhyme in this manner in the opening cinematic of The World Ends with You.
- In the first Dragon Quest, after rescuing the princess, the hero carries her back home in this fashion. The whole way back.
- Final Fantasy
- In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller carries Juno out of The Empirical this way.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Riku carries Kairi during Neverland, as she has become an Empty Shell having lost her heart.
- In Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, the ending CG for Eliwood and Ninian has him carrying her this way. He does it earlier, too, after saving her from the Black Fang in chapter 7.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), two whole levels are devoted to Sonic running and carrying the (human) Damsel in Distress in this way.
- Like above, Musashi Samurai Legend has the titular hero do this with some of the damsels. While carrying them, however, he is restricted to one attack: throwing said damsel into the air, performing a 360-degree slash, then catching them before they hit the ground. Hilariously, it's possible to miss the catch, meaning you may spend some time actively dropping the damsel while trying to fight off your pursuers.
- In The King of Fighters, Kensou carries an unconscious Athena in his arms in KOF'99. He does the same for Bao in KOF 2000.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, Cu Chulainn's mount animation consists of him carrying the player in this manner while looking into their eyes...regardless of gender.
- During Mass Effect 3, while you're on Mars, Ashley/Kaidan have a run in with a Cerberus mech, which results in having their head slammed against a burning shuttle. After Shepard kills the mech, if Ashley/Kaidan were romanced, they carry them in this position. If not, then this trope is averted.
- In Persona 4 Arena, Aigis picks up Kanji after defeating him in her storyline, much to his embarrassment. Her being much shorter than him doesn't help.
- Mario is doing this for Princess Peach when he is rescuing or otherwise escorting her in recent Super Mario Bros. titles starting with Super Mario 3D Land. (If he isn't, then they're Holding Hands instead).
- In Tomb Raider (2013), Lara carries Sam like this while the latter's wearing a white dress. Needless to say, this does nothing to reduce the Les Yay they've shared throughout.
- The Last of Us has Joel carry Ellie this way near the end of the game.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk pulls an unconscious Fiora out of the wreckage of Face Nemesis, then carries her to shore in this manner. Made all the more impressive by the fact that:
- In the cutscene just prior to this, he took a Mechon blade to the back, spending the remainder of the scene shaking in obvious pain and limping from various injuries sustained throughout the assault on Galahad Fortress, before diving what appeared to be several kilometers down after a falling Fiora
- This is Shulk, Hollywood Nerd and bookish, weedy little guy, who at the game's start would have had trouble picking up and carrying Fiora at all, let alone after
- Fiora's Unwilling Roboticization, which she tells Reyn shortly after this has made her "much heavier than she used to be". The Power of Love indeed.
- Bo does it in one scene of Yo-Jin-Bo. Muneshige and Mon-Mon give piggyback rides.
- A rather sad example comes from Crescendo, with Ryo Sasaki hurriedly carrying Yuka Otowa to the school infirmary after she suffers a uterus-wrecking miscarriage in-class. Complete with blood dripping down poor Yuka's inner thighs.
- Kou carries Vix like this in Dream Scar.
- Brian carries Sarah like this after she's been drugged in Think Before You Think.
- In Sinfest, Slick while carrying Monique away from all the soulless materialism -- to home, also infected by this.
- Parodied in some other pages where Slick carries Monique but has to put her down and rest.
- There's a heart-breaking one in Pacificators. Big brother Austin does this with his little sister Amanda, who is dead.
- Dangerously Chloe had the succubus protagonist carry her sort-of-boyfriend during their "daring escape in the air", to his giddy delight. Which covers both "strength" part (it was already established that succubi use The Power of Love in various ways) and "clumsy head-bonking" part.
- Averted in Schlock Mercenary: Faced with a high-gravity environment, Tagon stretches out his arms to offer a ride to an unarmored female character this way. The female being a scientist, she declines-noting that while Tagon may be wearing Powered Armor, she'd be unprotected from the obvious effects of pressing against metal arms at increased gravity.
- Gender switched in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic with Nephilia carrying Wolf after their wedding.
- Waterworks: Slick carries Connie this way as they are heading to an elevator.
- In Ava's Demon, Gil carries Ava like this.
- In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, carrying half the assassin (she was a symbiote) during the After-Action Healing Drama.
- In El Goonish Shive, when Hedge carries Elliot away to The Nest after subduing him, he does so using this carry instead of the Over-the-Shoulder Carry as would be expected of a typical antagonist in that situation. While choosing this carry over the other one does not have the usual connotations in this case, it is one of the clues that Hedge is not actually evil and doesn't actually have malicious intentions toward Elliot.
- Walter from Dubious Company has an awkward moment with his crew when he is caught doing this with Tiren while shirtless. He was just trying to escape the Quirky Miniboss Squad.
- In Plume, Corrick picks up Vesper after she falls into a frozen lake.
- Casper Scare School
In "Our Boy Wolfie", a man carries his girlfriend like this as they run away from Wolfie.
- South Park: Jimmy carries a prostitute in "Erection Day" complete with Joe Cocker song.
- In the Transformers Generation 1 episode "Auto Berserk", Inferno carries his friend Red Alert out of a burning building in this manner.
- The Simpsons
Homer: I'm going to the back seat of my car with the woman I love, and I won't be back for TEN MINUTES!
- Parodied again in a flashback when he tries to carry a very heavily pregnant Marge over the threshold and does his back in.
- Wakfu: Sadlygrove carries Evangelyne this way thrice: on their very first encounter in episode 2, then in Eva's dream in episode 20, and again for real in episode 24 after he saves her from Desherboss.
- Young Justice: Kid Flash rescues Artemis from firing tanks in "Bereft" and carries her like this.
- Looney Tunes: Pepe Le Pew carries Penelope like this when she faints from exhaustion in "Little Beau Pepe".
- Another cartoon had Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd get married (It Makes Sense in Context) and Bugs carries a bridal gown clad Elmer over the threshold, only to drop him off a cliff.
- Gender inverted in the Total Drama World Tour episode "Slap Slap Revolution" where Izzy is seen carrying Noah around in this style after accidentally injuring him in a previous scene. True to his Non-Action Snarker status, Noah is perfectly fine with being carried and none of the other contestants comment on the two.
- Invoked in the the wedding-themed "Niagara Brawls".
- Kick Buttowski: Brad pulls off a literal version of this in "Bwar and Peace", where he's seen carrying his Viking bride around after their wedding.
- Gender reversal in a flashback scene in Hey Arnold! when newlyweds Oskar and Suzie are moving into the boarding house, Suzie was the one carrying Oskar.
- In the Tom and Jerry episode "Flirty Birdy" a male eagle does this to a crossdressing Tom at one point.
- The Legend of Korra
- Mako does this for Korra after she escapes from being held captive by Tarrlok and from almost being captured again by Amon. Done again later in a frantic attempt to escape Amon after Korra gets De-bended by him.
- In The Smurfs special "Smurfily Ever After", when Smurfette imagines herself being married to Hefty, he carries her in a jog through the village to his house. Smurfette asks if he's doing this because he's so eager to be alone with her, and Hefty says he's doing this because it's good exercise.
- In one of the opening sequences for the Spider-Man TV series of The Nineties, Spider-Man is seen carrying Harry Osborn twice like this.
- In The New Adventures of Superman, Superman lifts Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen under the knees and back when rescuing them.
- Danny Phantom, the title hero does this with Sam in the series finale after they had finally become a couple.