So the villain is going on an evil speech
about how now everyone must despair and obey or die... Only to get a rock to the head from a Muggle
or Innocent Bystander
. Rather than be paralyzed with fear, the meekest make a very brave, but mostly harmlessnote
gesture of defiance against a dangerous foe whom they have every reason not to piss off. For extra trope points, it'll be a child, old person, or someone who is completely unintimidating. For double bonus points, it will be someone previously shown to dislike the hero or badmouth them.
The symbolism here is pretty direct: even when in the face of overwhelming opposition and defeat, people are still capable of bravery and dignity.
Despite the trope name stones aren't always used, sometimes it's trash or even Produce Pelting
. If even that
is hard to come by, the (at this point) Heroic Bystander
may just use a well timed Shut Up, Hannibal!
, saying that they reject their rule, believe in the hero, and that even The Hero
's defeat will only embolden them to fight for themselves. This may lead to the rock thrower getting killed, a pro-hero riot starting, the villain getting distracted (and the hero taking advantage) or the release of the hero to finish the battle. In some cases, the civilian has no rock and instead uses trash, or does something equally impressive like standing during a Kneel Before Zod
See also Spirit Bomb
, Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?
Please use the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement
when adding Real Life
Anime and Manga
- s-CRY-ed done by a little kid against a teenager with super powers fits the spirit of the trope but its also done to show the teen's hidden depths
- Happens in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann with a side order of Values Dissonance: Rossiu is surrounded by armed guards telling a crowd Simon is to be executed, when a rock hits him in the head. We never see who threw it, but a previous shot showed a man in the crowd with a Badass Mustache doing the Bicep-Polishing Gesture (the page image). The Western fandom thought he was giving Rossiu an "Up yours!" gesture, named him Bruce Ironstaunch, and made it fanon that he threw the rock.
- In The Twelve Kingdoms: A girl named Shoukei throws a rock at a guard in protest of a particularly horrific public execution, leading to her being pursued through the city streets. The event becomes significant later, as it puts her in touch with The Heroine Yoko and a group of mercenary resistance fighters. This is made even more significant in Shoukei's Character Development as Shoukei's father, the former tyrant of a nearby kingdom, had an old woman's son executed for doing the exact same thing, and when said old woman told Shoukei this, she defended her father - it probably didn't help that she was in denial and being beaten by said grieving mother. Via being the only one who protested against said execution, Shoukei was showing how she was outgrowing her selfish behavior and was willing to do something against such injustice.
- In Superman II, the residents of Metropolis march on the three Kryptonians when it seems like Superman was killed, despite the fact they could wipe them out with a single look.
- In The Avengers an older German refused to bow to Loki, saying he remembered the pettiness of those who force others into submission.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has an astonishing double bonus. Pre-teen girl Marlene tosses a Materia Orb at Yazoo to stop him from finishing off Tifa once he KOs her. It works, but only because the Materia is fully powered and what the setting's magic runs on.
- At the end of Matilda, the children all start throwing the contents of their lunchboxes and water balloons at the defeated Trunchbull.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- In Spider-Man, a bridge full of passerby pelt the Green Goblin with trash to buy Spidey the time to save a wire car from falling.
- In Spider-Man 2 the passengers of a train Spidey just saved stand together to keep Octopus from reaching the hero, even though they are easily knocked aside.
- In Watchmen this happens during one of the crowd scenes, with the Comedian and the second Nite Owl.
- In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, David is captured, and about to be executed in the Flesh Fair. But since David has a sense of self-preservation, he cries out for help. When the crowd starts wondering if he's a real child or not, the circus master gives an impassioned speech about how the machines are starting to replace the children, and therefore, should be destroyed. He ends the speech with a calm "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." A man stands up, and throws a stone... at the circus master. The rest of the crowd quickly follows suit.
- Leonidas' final scene in 300 is an elaborate one of these. While it is debatable whether he meant for the spear to just wound Xerxes or to kill him, he does make good on his earlier that "even a God-King can bleed".
- In the Prisoner of War film Stalag17, the Commadant of the camp is standing on some boards to keep his boots nice and clean during the morning speech after two prisoners were killed trying to escape. While the Commadant was speaking ill of them and in a condescending tone how he will show how nice he is after this "incident" by letting the men have warm baths for lice, a Christmas Tree, and there might even be snow, one prisoner throws not a stone but an ocarina from another prisoner into the mud puddle to dirty the Commadant's boots he worked to keep nice and clean by walking on planks of wood on the muddy ground set out just for him.
- In Kung Fu Hustle, after getting beaten to a pulp by The Beast, the hero still manages to whap him on the head with a folded fan. Repeatedly.
- In The Hunger Games film, after Rue's death a man starts attacking the peacekeepers (who basically act as an armed force of Jerkasses). A full-scale riot occurs after that.
- Mentioned several times in Discworld:
- In Night Watch, where Vimes notes that "unarmed civilians" can be decidedly dangerous once they pry a few cobblestones off the street and a number of tradesman's tools are basically nastier versions of military weapons.
- Worth noting is that when Lord Rust orders Vimes' men to fire arrows over the top of the barricade in response to a fairly minor hail of missiles, Vimes lays him out flat with one punch and tells his men to simply move out of stone-throwing range.
- Thud!: When Vimes and company investigate a murder claim in a dwarven compound, a group of unruly dwarves show up to protest. One of them throws a half brick and knocks out the dwarf officer Vimes brought with him and in a subversion of the "harmless" aspect of the trope, ultimately kills him.
- In The Black Magician Trilogy when the affluent magicians go out into the town people will throw stones at them non stop. Since they can just put up a magical barrier this isn't a problem... until the main character's natural ability shows itself by throwing a stone through that barrier with no problem.
- In The Witcher short story The Lesser Evil, after Geralt kills Renfri in defense of the villagers of Blaviken, they, quite ironically, proceed to pelt him with stones, thinking him nothing more than a murderer. Geralt survives unscathed due to a timely Quen Sign, however, he is forced out of Blaviken and awarded with the epithet "The Butcher of Blaviken".
- In The Spirit Rebellion, towards the end Eli convinces the spirits of the town to rise up against the Duke that is enslaving them. They are too afraid at first until one roofing tile launches itself at the duke, triggering all the other spirits to join in It turns out to be a subversion as Eli's adoptive father actually threw the stone to motivate the others.
- The Elenium: An odd example, in that the "harmless" object is an axe. It's thrown at a giant statue inhabited bynote a god, though, and so is incapable of doing any actual harm—but it distracts said god just enough, at just the right moment.
- On Game of Thrones, King Joffrey gets a hunk of excrement thrown at him when passing a crowd. The scene quickly dissolves into a riot.
- In the Swedish version of Chess, a flashback to the 1956 Budapest Revolution shows Hungarians throwing rocks at an approaching Soviet tank.
- In Tales of Symphonia, the heroes enter the town square of Palmacosta to find the oppressive Desians there, about to hang one of the townsfolk. After her "crimes" (refusing to sell them supplies on the basis that they're evil oppressors) are announced publicly, a little boy starts throwing stones at their leader. He orders the kid executed, at which point the party steps in to save both townspeople and drive off the Desians.
- Played for Laughs in Sonic Unleashed, Eggman is terrorizing the citizens of Mazuri, demanding to know the location of the Gaia Temple. One of the children screams at him "WE'RE NOT TELLING YOU ANYTHING!" and chucks a rock at Eggman, hitting him in the head. While the kid's parents hide him from Eggman, his Servile Snarker robot can be seen laughing.
- The angry mob unit in Command & Conquer: Generals throws rocks and molotovs before being upgraded to wield AK-47s.
- In inFAMOUS, random passer's by will either do this to Cole (if he's evil, or in the begining when he's been framed for causing the accident which gave him his powers) or enemies (if you have a 100% Heroism Rating).
- In Xenogears has this with Fei (the PC) on the receiving end of the rock throws! In one arena match when facing a much weaker but massively popular opponent, the crowd throws stuff at the player in opposition.
- In the first Assassins Creed game, there are beggar women that constantly move around in front of you while pleading for coins. Attempts to escape them by climbing a nearby wall causes them to pelt Altair with rocks until he either climbs out of view or falls to the ground again so they can resume pestering him.
- In the Grim Tales from Down Below webcomic on Snafu-comics.com by Bleedman: Mimi does one of these in a flashback to a demon who was attempting to kill the remaining heroes. As seen here.
- In Homestar Runner, the Strong Bad Email "disconnected" parodies this with Strong Bad's headless body throwing rocks from a box labeled "Riot Rocks."
- In Welcome to Night Vale Episode 49, Leann Hart throws Sara Sultan, president of the Night Vale Community College, at some of the attacking Strex workers, to great effect. It falls under this trope because Sara Sultan happens to be a smooth, fist-sized river rock.
- This trope is also played straight with twelve-year-old Tamika Flynn in Episode 36. The rock actually does something there too, in this case taking down a yellow Strex Corp helicopter.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has this in the first season episode "Imprisoned". Earthbenders are being kept prisoner in an ocean rig / Tailor-Made Prison devoid of all stone and earth to keep them from Earthbending. After Aang and then Katara give an inspirational speech, no one acts because of their broken spirits. However Haru tosses the first stone in defiance and soon all the Earthbenders rise up to resist. And since Aang and co had previously supplied a huge pile of coal for them to Earthbend, things got very dirty very fast for their captors.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has one second season episode show this prominently. The Muggles in a subway car spend most of the episode berating Captain America for betraying humanity (it was a Skrull) as he is leading them to safety. However, by the end when he's about to fall to the Serpent Society (who've pretty much said they want to kill the muggles) they all pelt the villains and distract them enough with supportive cries to give Cap a chance.
- In the Exosquad episode "Resist!", JT Marsh calls out to the people of Earth to resist the newly-formed Neosapien regime, even though the Terran fleet is routed and must flee to the outer planets.
- Subverted in one episode of ReBoot that had Megabyte threaten a group of binomes with assimilation into his viral forces, but a Picard-Expy binome refused with a line out of the Star Trek movies. Megabyte promptly vaporizes him and all the other binomes surrendered.
- In the Superman: The Animated Series two-parter "Apokolips... Now!", Dan Turpin calls for resistance against Darkseid, after the latter defeats the Man of Steel and proclaims Earth his dominion. Bad thing, he gets killed for it.
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Battle of the Superheroes!", Superman starts acting like a jerk under the influence of red kryptonite. When he declares himself king, Lois and Jimmy lead a tomato-throwing mob against him.
- Please use the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement.
- Balilla, the boy who started a revolt against Austrians occupying his city by throwing stones at them. here.
- "Stone, the weapon of the proletariat", a famous Soviet monumental sculpture by Ivan Shadr, depicting an angry emaciated man grabbing the titular boulder and preparing to throw it. The title phrase itself became a proverb in Russian.
- The anonymous man ("Tank Man") who stood in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. The Other Wiki discusses that here.
- Emil Gallo, a plumber by trade, was photographed baring his chest in front of a tank gun and daring it to shoot during the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The photo can be seen here.
- The Palestinians are/were famous for this during the two Intifadas (the First in The Eighties and the Second at The Turn Of The Millenium), throwing stones at Israeli tanks and heavily armed and armored Israeli soldiers, as well as the bulldozers and other construction equipment brought in to build IDF fortifications and Israeli settlements. These days it doesn't happen as much, since the West Bank is walled off and is in an uneasy peace with Israel, while Gaza fights with the occasional (or during major operations, not-so-occasional) rocket. Also, the Palestinians did fight with standard weaponry and, of course suicide bombs, (particularly in the Second Intifada), so the "rocks v. tanks" image some like to paint isn't exactly what you'd call accurate.
- Peoples' Temple member Christine Miller, who tried to talk Jim Jones out of forcing her and her fellow followers to commit suicide at the Jonestown community's final meeting on November 18, 1978.