No one screams as he falls to his death like Gaston.
"Looks like the Duke... has fallen from grace."
It appears that villains in the Disney Animated Canon
have an especially curious tendency to exit the film by falling off or out of things. Unfortunately for them, even though they are
animated characters, they cannot defy gravity
The varied list of things to fall from includes cliffs, over waterfalls
, out of trees, and off the tops of buildings
. There is at least one case of a Disney villain meeting his end by falling up
(off a space ship and into space
), once sideways (off the Chinese Imperial Palace by aid of a rocket
), and another where a villain falls "out" by being dragged to his doom by demons
. Wait, actually that's two cases of a villain being dragged to his doom by demons
. Or maybe even three. Perhaps four. And a fifth example if you count the live-action films
(with a *big* shot of Family-Unfriendly Death
making it even worse!)
Note that none of these cases have to involve a Climbing Climax
, though it may involve a One-Winged Angel
transformation beforehand (which is by far the second-favorite trope of Disney villains).
Sometimes, a fatal wound will be inflicted upon the villain just before taking the plunge (whether caused by the hero or by the villain's own actions
) just to ensure that he or she is definitely dead. Or, they could have a boulder or similar heavy object falling down with them, which will surely crush them when they land, or fall into a deadly environment like lava or molten metal, a pit of savage beasts, fire, Hell itself, or even flesh-eating green acid
, as water alone won't always do it
As with other Karmic Deaths
, this is often invoked to conveniently relieve the hero of dispatching the villain himself
. Heck, they may even cry "Take My Hand
!" as they fail to Save the Villain
. Their hands left bloodless, the hero and heroine can get married and live happily ever after and whatnot.
This is usually invoked in order to dispatch the villain without resorting to a messier and more visible end
which might upset the kids (or the Moral Guardians
). Please ignore the uncomfortable realization
that having the villain meet his or her end as an unquestionably ghastly mess on the floor isn't any less violent than any of the alternatives
Keep in mind that you don't have to be a Disney villain to meet your end this way — many villains and other characters in action movies, cartoons, books and other works have also met with this fate, although it's fair to say that most heroes have ways to survive taking the long fall
Extremely apparent in Disney's "Bronze Age" (the string of late-80's
hits). Not to be confused with Disney Death
. It seems only good guys get to have those (there is a villainous variant, but Disney doesn't use it often).
There is also the non-villainous, non-conflict related variation of the trope, where a character decides to jump off a high ledge due to some stupid idea they have (eg, thinking they'd fly).
A subtrope of Self-Disposing Villain
See Also: High-Altitude Interrogation
and Unhand Them, Villain!
, as well as Death by Falling Over
. When Recycled In Space
, it's Thrown Out the Airlock
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
No Real Life Examples, Please!
We don't judge real life people as "villains", and while it is Truth in Television
that people sometimes fall to their deaths, that's covered under Not the Fall That Kills You
open/close all folders
Disney examples, in rough chronological order
- Here's an obscure early one. An old Sunday comic serial had a giant and his vulture get an early version of this!
- The Queen/Witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs gets the ground she's standing on struck by lightning and falls off a cliff and the huge boulder she was trying to use to kill the Dwarfs instead falls down the cliff after her and she gets eaten by vultures off-screen.
- Subverted in Bambi where Ronno actually survives being pushed off a cliff and into a river by Bambi while they are both fighting over Faline.
- In the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" part of Fun and Fancy Free, Willy the Giant falls to his death, just like in the original story. However, in its theatrical release (as part of Fun and Fancy Free) and at least one television rebroadcast, Willy is shown to have survived... and made it to Los Angeles somehow...
- In the 1948 Carl Barks Donald Duck comic "The Golden Christmas Tree", Donald and the nephews encounter an evil, shape-shifting witch. Donald manages to trap her in the form of a gas can, and later kicks the witch/can off a cliff during one of his trademark tantrums. It's a pretty bizarre story.
- A strange thing happens in Cinderella. Lady Tremaine and Cinderella's step sisters don't really get punished at all ( in the film anyway; all three are punished in Birth By Sleep, and Drizella and Lady Tremaine are implied to have been forced into servitude in the second sequel, while Anastasia is redeemed by love). But their Right-Hand Cat Lucifer, who is mean even by Disney cat standards, terrorizing the mice and doing horrible things when Lady Tremaine isn't available, falls from the window of Cinderella's tower. (The comics and sequels, however, show him still alive, minus one life). It's best to take the sequel's word for it. Cats (a) can right themselves in midair, and (b) go limp upon reaching terminal velocity, at which point their legs splay out and their skin stretches into a makeshift parachute. This means that they can actually survive very long falls.
- At the end of Lambert The Sheepish Lion, the wolf actually ends up being bumped off a cliff by the titular lion. However, it's then revealed that the wolf actually survived the fall since he immediately grabbed onto a nearby branch with berries growing on it.
- Subverted in Peter Pan; Captain Hook does fall, directly into the jaws of a crocodile, but he bursts out and runs away yelling. He makes it into the sequel, too. Played straight with one of his henchmen, however, after he messes up Hook's song at one point.
- Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty pulls her One-Winged Angel act, is killed by Prince Philip with a thrown sword (but it's okay because she's a dragon), and falls off a cliff that also is burning at the bottom. The burning cliff was rather clearly set ablaze by Maleficent's own dragonfire.
- 101 Dalmatians: Cruella de Vil crashes her Cool Car into her goons' truck, sending them both plummeting off the cliff they were on. Oddly, despite the fact that the cars are totaled at the bottom of the ravine, all three are alive and Cruella is in good enough shape to throw a hissy-fit. She survives in the book as well.
- Although this has been debated, Barnaby in Babes in Toyland (the 1961 film) is stabbed by Tom during their swordfight, sending him falling over the edge of a stack of boxes (acting as a cliff) and into an empty toybox below, from which he never emerges and is presumed dead. The only reason this was even debated was because pubilicity stills show him being forced into and imprisoned in a birdcage at the fight's end in place of the stabbing, which really is an alternate ending and therefore means nothing to the plot of the film itself.
- At the end of The Jungle Book 2, Shere Khan falls into a volcanic crack below the entrance to an ancient temple, but lands on a small island. Then a giant stone tiger head falls directly on him, subverting this trope. Seemingly subverting, that is. The stone head was hollow. And then the vultures show up to mock the inevitability of his doom (the rock was melting under his feet).
- A very cool variation happens to the Horned King in The Black Cauldron. He was sucked into the very same magical cauldron that he intended to use to conquer the world. Once inside, he disappears forever. Hey, no fuss, no muss. Of course, in the book, he melted.
- The Great Mouse Detective:
- Ratigan — oh, Ratigan. Of course, considering his direct inspiration, Professor Moriarty, also got taken out by a fall, it's not much of a surprise.
- Also happens to his sidekick Fidget, who is ironically a bat (with a crippled wing). That didn't stop Disney Adventures from doing a comic story where he had apparently survived and also did a Heel-Face Turn, though.
- Exceptions to this in the Disney movies tend to be very extreme. In one year, we got the Family Unfriendly Deaths of both Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (dissolved by his own Dip) and Sykes in Oliver & Company (just saying he's run over by a subway train doesn't even cover it.) Sykes' henchdogs also get freakin' electrocuted on a third rail. That's not even going into how Ursula checked out.
- This is averted in The Little Mermaid. It's played straight in the sequel, though — Ursula's sister is frozen in a block of ice and sinks into a watery abyss.
- Played straight in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp with Merlock as a result of him losing his talisman... while in low earth orbit. Though he did wish to live forever and he would have hit the ground long before the genie was freed and all his wishes were undone.
- Percival McLeach in The Rescuers Down Under escapes a group of crocodiles only to prove no match for the Inevitable Waterfall that is the death of him. This is followed immediately by a fakeout when the heroes face the exact same chain of events. (It helps to have a whacking great eagle on your side).
- Beauty and the Beast:
- Beast initially goes out of his way to spare Gaston from this in Beauty and the Beast... then Gaston goes and brings it on himself anyway, after pulling a phony surrender on the Beast. Some fans actually questioned whether he actually died, citing how there was a river at the bottom of the ravine, and citing how LeFou managed to survive much worse, such as being stuck in the snow for what was implied to be several months and being crushed by a chair/bench, and his voice actor expressed doubts about Gaston's death. It actually necessitated the Disney company to make it clear in the commentary that he died. It was originally intended in the earliest drafts to be subverted: Similar to Scar's death in The Lion King,note he was to have survived the fall from a cliff after being knocked off by Belle with a rock, albeit with a broken leg, only to encounter the wolves from earlier in the film, and is implied to have been finished off by them. Apparently it was revoked because it would have been far too gruesome even for a character like him.
- Forte, on the other hand, is smashed into bits in the midquel. And while he was a huge freaking organ at the time, he was also a transformed human. One shudders to think what he looked like when the curse was broken...
- A variation occurs in the live-action movie The Rocketeer: Neville Sinclair, a Nazi agent, voluntarily flies out of the zeppelin with the rocket pack, but its fuel leak causes it to burst into a massive fireball in which he becomes engulfed, causing Neville to crash into the Hollywoodland sign and explode spectacularly.
- An article titled "The Gargoyles Drinking Game" instructed players to take a shot for every trope common to Gargoyles (i.e. every time Xanatos admitted to the failure of the plan being part of the plan or every time Elisa's Cool Car is seen). Disney Villain Death was not included because the sheer number would cause people to succumb to alcohol poisoning. Specific examples, for the curious:
- The Captain and Hakon, in the Middle Ages part of "Awakening". Demona, at the end of "Awakening", though she turned out to have survived. The Archmage, in "Long Way to Morning", who also later turned out to be alive because David Warner is just that awesome. Subverted in "The Journey" with John Castaway, who had a helicopter ready.
- In the "City of Stone" arc: In part one, a villain killed the hero's father by falling off a castle. In part two, the villain himself was killed by falling off the same castle. That could be justified as poetic justice, but the creators didn't want to have to do it again in part three for the other villain. So, Macbeth gets a magical ball of... something that causes the villain to be electrocuted. And after he's burned through, his body... falls off a cliff. Oh, well.
- And the modern Hunter's vendetta against Demona specifically? A fight between their father and the Gargoyle led to the Hunter falling off Notre Dame cathedral. To his death.
- In The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (from Disney's Hollywood Pictures), evil revenge-obsessed babysitter Peyton is shoved out of the attic window by Claire, and lands on the house's picket fence which Solomon had built earlier.
- Befalls Tabaqui in the live action version of The Jungle Book, when he attempts to crush Mowgli with a rock, but loses his balance and falls off a huge cliff near a waterfall.
- The Lion King.
- Subverted. Scar survives his fall off Pride Rock. He meets Shenzi's Hyena pack down there, and they're not too happy about being blamed for all his wrongdoings. Let's just say that Scar would probably have preferred the falling death... It is heavily suggested by shadowing that they maul him to death. In the novelization, it is worse, describing Scar as a 'king fit for a meal' and judging by the hyenas' ravenous appetites throughout, it is highly possible he was Eaten Alive. The sequel further implies that he burned to death as well.
- Also inverted: The actual "death by falling" went to Mufasa, the hero's father... a secret Scar just couldn't resist telling Simba before it was too late...
- Zira in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride falls off a cliff into rapids and drowns. Note that, in the original Darker and Edgier ending, she was intended to be seen letting go (some argue that this is still the case in the release. It's a bit ambiguous), and laughing on the way down.
- Her son Nuka suffers a similar death, but it's not just the fall that kills him: the logs that fall after him are definitely a factor as well.
- Since he's one of the most downright evil Disney villains of all (although he wasn't too bad in the book), Judge Claude Frollo's demise in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is particularly spectacular. He stands atop a gargoyle and is about to kill Quasimodo and Esmeralda — but the gargoyle's head cracks, causing him to lose his balance. As he grabs onto the gargoyle for dear life, it starts glowing and snarling at him, as if Satan himself was saying he deserved it. It finally breaks off and he plummets to his doom, landing in molten lead. (Note that in the book, Quasimodo threw him off). Mere seconds before the gargoyle cracked, as he was about to slay Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Frollo gave some dramatic last words:
- Hades' defeat in Hercules, sorta. As a god, he can't die, but he was defeated by being punched into the river Styx, where the souls of the dead dogpiled him. He couldn't fall to his death, so he fell into a bunch of other people's.
- In Mulan, the writers shot Shan Yu with a giant firework (in a kid-friendly way) specifically because they didn't want to have another falling death in a Disney movie.
- Clayton's death in Tarzan may be the most violent of all Disney Villain Deaths. Falling out of a tree and accidentally hanging oneself with jungle vines. We even get to hear his neck snap...The storm makes it possible to see the shadow of his dangling body for a second, just to drive the point home that yes, he died and the corpse is there if they want to check.
An alternate ending averts the trope. In this ending, Tarzan confronts Clayton on Clayton's junk. A small fire breaks out when Tarzan frees all the gorillas that the hunter had captured. Tarzan then pins Clayton's shirt sleeve to an oil barrel with a knife (after choosing not to simply cut out his heart) and leaves him there as the oil from the barrel seeps towards the flames. The last shot is of the ship exploding. (This ending was cut as the filmmakers felt it went against Tarzan telling Clayton "I'm not a man like you").
- Emperor Zurg falls down an elevator shaft in Toy Story 2, yet somehow survives to play catch with his son. It's a long story...
- Dinosaur has Aladar ram one of the Carnotaurs off a cliff. Under circumstances that are very similar to those in The Land Before Time (detailed below).
- Yzma falls in The Emperor's New Groove — but there's a hilarious twist to that...
Guard: For the last time, we did not order a giant trampoline!
Delivery Man: You know, pal, you could have told me that before I set it up!
- The Evil Jack-In-The-Box from the "Steadfast Tin Soldier" segment of Fantasia 2000 is a half-example. He charges the soldier, and is flipped over by him off the table, falling into a hot stove.
- Atlantis The Lost Empire: The main villain's death is surprisingly fall-free, especially given that the final struggle takes place on an airship. He crystallizes and EXPLODES. It's played straight with Helga, although unlike most examples, we actually see her afterwards, and she lives long enough to deliver the coup de grace shot on the airship. It's also heavily implied that, since Helga lay at the bottom of the chimney when the airship blew up, she would have been crushed by the flaming debris whether she had survived the fall or not.
Whitmore: What happened to Helga?
Cookie: Weeeeeell, we lost her after a flamin' zeppelin come down on her — *WHACK* Uh, missin'.
- A neat variation occurs in Treasure Planet:
- The truly nasty Scroop dies by falling upward when the ship's Artificial Gravity gets turned off. This is obvious payoff for his murdering the kindly-though-gruff First Mate Mr. Arrow (one of the few heroes who dies by falling — into a black hole, no less) through similar means.
- A bunch of other unnamed pirate mooks die by falling as well, a number when Doppler breaks the catwalk they're on and they fall to the planet below. More when the planet's core is being sliced up by jets of plasma during its self-destruct and some pirates fall into one of the firey chasms.
- Syndrome of The Incredibles subverts this by getting sucked into a jet engine. Note that Mr. Incredible meant to kill him, as it was a result of chucking a car at him... just not in that particular way. This is actually made somewhat humorous when one remembers earlier in the movie when Edna Mode was giving her reasons for refusing to give Mr. Incredible's new outfit a cape — one super died when her cape got her pulled into a jet engine.
- Subverted in Kim Possible: So The Drama, where Kim kicks Shego into a building, where she gets electrically shocked and the entire thing falls on top of her. She survives, and is perfectly fine, though.
- And fitting an Affectionate Parody of other Disney movies. In Enchanted, Queen Narissa falls off New York City's Woolworth Building... after, yes, going One-Winged Angel. Into a dragon. She explodes into glitter on impact.
- In the Kingdom Hearts series, while there are a few falling villains (which Captain Hook subverts by being thrown off into the ocean with the crocodile chasing him... only to survive the ordeal and return in the interquel 358/2 Days), most Disney Villain Deaths are replaced with "Beaten to death with a giant key". Amusingly, of all the Disney villains in the series, the three who did not fall off something in their source material (and they still don't in the games) technically originate from outside of the Disney Animated Canon: Oogie Boogie (gets his skin ripped off and crumbles in the movie, beaten to death and crumbles in Kingdom Hearts), Barbossa (shot as his curse of immortality is lifted), and the MCP (it's an AI represented as a giant red cylinder with a face in Cyberspace. Go figure). This might be telling you something.
- Sympathetic villain Davy Jones dies after his heart is stabbed, and he falls into the Maelstrom in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Averted with Cutler Beckett, who is blown up with the ship, and has his remains on the water.
- In National Treasure, Shaw gets the distinction of being the only character to die in the entire movie by plummeting through an ancient staircase.
- In The Three Musketeers (1993), we see three examples of this trope. D'Artagnan fights one of the Cardinal's men on top of some ruins, and knocks him off to his death. Lady De Winter, the femme fatale, chooses to fling herself off a cliff rather than suffer a beheading. Later in the film, D'Artagnan surprises the King's assassin on the palace roof, and the fight ends with the assassin getting a crossbow bolt to the heart and falling to the ground below.
- Averted with Rochefort's death; he is clearly stabbed and dies in full view of the audience.
- Cardinal Richelieu is only a partial example, as he could conceivably have survived falling into the waterway (and, indeed, must've if both history and the original story is taken into account).
- An early episode of Phineas and Ferb actually has this happen with Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Of course, since he's the main villain, he subverts this by landing on a mattress (which then folds up).
- GO-4 gets a messy one (for a machine) in WALL•E.
- Charles Muntz in Up. Those balloons tangled to his feet don't seem to have helped him any.
- Averted in The Princess and the Frog. Dr. Facilier is very creepily dragged by the ankle of his shadow into the open mouth of a giant mask before it is closed to reveal his screaming and terrified face sealed up in a tombstone.
- Tangled gently plays with this trope. While Mother Gothel did fall from the tower, she was already dead from Rapid Aging and turned to dust by the time she (or rather, her cloak) hit the ground. Also, she didn't just cause her own fall, she was actually intentionally tripped by Pascal.
- Averted in TRON: Legacy. Clu 2 does not lose grip and fall to his deresolution. Rather, his creator Kevin Flynn reabsorbs his program and blows up as Sam and Quorra make it to Flynn's Arcade in the real world. A tragic inversion with Tron himself, who falls into the abyss after remembering who he is and his purpose. His Heroic Sacrifice only managed to buy the party a little extra time.
- In one album of the Italian Paperinik New Adventures comic series, Ethan dies this way by falling from the top of a dam. The man who is the closest thing he had to a father tries to extend his hand to him, but Ethan declines and says "Sorry pa, not this time."
- A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example actually happens during the first fight scene between Finn McMissile and the Lemons at the very beginning of Cars 2: As McMissile is attempting to escape the Lemons' oil rig, a Gremlin can be seen being thrown off a balcony and into the ocean beneath.
- Averted in Wreck-It Ralph when King Candy/Turbo and the Cy-Bugs are killed by a geyser of boiling hot Diet Cola.
- Ralph himself is subject to this trope, being flung off a building's roof at the end of each level of the game he's a villain in.
- Motorcity: "Red" has one of these after refusing to be rescued by Mike Chilton. Subverted in that he survives.
- Mike himself has this happen in the finale when he's dropped off KaneCo Tower, though he survives.
- Brave averts this; Mor'du gets crushed to death by one of the monoliths.
- In The Lone Ranger, Tonto leaves Latham Cole to fall to his death along with all the silver his plan revolved around mining.
- King Stefan in Maleficent. Unusually, we do see him post-impact.
Anime and Manga
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing featured an awesome variant in an early episode when Lady Une dumps the last surviving Alliance general from the bottom of an airborne transport plane, then shoots him while he's falling. Septem had just broadcast his condemnation of the Gundam pilots' assassination of the rest of the Alliance leadership which had decided to sue for peace and total disarmament, but since OZ was simultaneously staging a coup of the Alliance, Septem had outlived his usefulness.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Presea Testarossa falls off a crumbling floor into the extradimensional void. It's left ambiguous whether she survived and managed to teleport somewhere else with the Jewel Seeds that fell with her.
- Though a more minor villain, Cytomander of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gets rammed by the Dai-Gurren and ends up having not only his ship fall, but a large amount of his minions with him.
- Shion suffers this fate in the arcs of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni where she succumbs to the Hate Plague.
- Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist when Wrath is defeated in Episode 58 of Brotherhood. He manages to swim to safety, although he remains weak enough for Scar to quickly kill him a little while afterwards.
- Happens to the Big Bad in Interstella 5555 when he falls into a lake of lava under his castle.
- Dragon Ball The Dragon from the second DBZ movie subverts this trope, as he falls from a great height but explodes on the way down.
- In Fist of the North Star, some villains get this fate. The most famous was Amiba who was dropped from his tower after Kenshiro strikes his power points then blows up in midair.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, during the Doma arc, when Rex Raptor is defeated by Joey's Gearfried the Swordmaster, he falls screaming into a black void that symbolises his own despair before the Orichalcos takes his soul.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX,
- Grings Kodai, the Big Bad of Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, falls from a great height in both the anime and manga, but it's subverted in the anime, where he survives to endure a Humiliation Conga. In the manga, however, Zoroark chases him off the top of the stadium wall (a much greater height) with illusionary vines, sending him falling to his death.
- Subverted with The Iron Masked Marauder from Pokémon 4Ever, who falls from thousands of feet in the air when Pikachu shocks him while he tries to fly away with Celebi on his jet pack, but he lands in a tree and survives.
- Always averted with Team Rocket, whose Joker Immunity enables them to survive virtually anything. Some of their "blasting off" scenes involve them falling into a gorge, and at least two falls were ones that they themselves thought would kill them (once in Haunter Versus Kadabra, and again in the second movie). But the one that takes the cake for inverting this trope in the name of Joker Immunity is in the episode Shell Shock, in which a boulder (which would have killed Ash and the gang) is thrown off a cliff by the Machoke, sending James falling into the gorge WITH THE BOULDER STILL ON TOP OF HIM (the same kind of fall that killed the Big Bad of Disney's first animated film), yet he turns up unharmed in his next scene.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam, Mook Crown gets this death by plummeting into Earth's gravity while piloting his Zaku. Ramba Ral also suffers this fate as he falls with a grenade in his hand onto the Gundam's hand.
- Averted in Life. One of the antagonists appears to die from falling from several stories; however, it's a Disney Death, and he's just severely wounded and taken to a hospital.
- Naga in Monster Rancher is defeated by Mocchi, hanging onto the edge of his castle. Despite the Searchers' attempt to save him, he lets go and falls to his death.
- In the second episode of Kirby of the Stars (or "Kirby: Right Back at Ya!" as the dub was called), Yokozuna Demon Beast Blocky carelessly breaks off a piece of the cliff that Stone Kirby is standing on to trick him and use his weight against him, causing them both to plunge into the sea. Kirby, of course, swims back up to the surface and everybody other than Dedede and Escargoon cheers for him. Blocky, on the other hand, is too heavy to swim and thus is stuck sinking to the bottom of the sea.
- Subverted with fellow Demon Beast Masher. In later episode "Monster Management", Masher walked off the ramparts and fell into the ground below. He survived the fall, of course, and got out of the pothole he made when he landed. He was still destroyed later by Fighter Kirby and Knuckle Joe later, of course.
- Also subverted with Demon Bonkers in much later episode "Goin' Bonkers". After Hammer Kirby lands one last whack from his hammer onto Bonkers' head, he falls off the tower of Dedede's castle that he was holding on to, and upon hitting the ground and making another pothole, he reverts back to his normal self, still alive and well.
- Wheelie, the transformed form of Beat / Fang, suffers this near the end of the two-parter "Born to Be Mild", falling as the Dedede Speedway racing stadium crumbles and getting buried in the rubble.
- Heavy Anaconda in the sixth-to-last episode, "Frog Wild", gets this by getting burned by Fire Kirby's Burning Attack and Fireball Spin moves and falling as he suffers from the flaming burns given by the pink spud himself.
- Tulip the giant in Jack to Mame no Ki, being an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk and all if you're familiar with the story you expect this to happen.
- Eudial from the third season of Sailor Moon gets this when her jealous co-worker Mimete sabotages her car, causing it to go off a cliff.
- Sniper the Doberman Pinscher from Ginga Nagareboshi Gin falls to his death in the anime when Ben takes him down the cliff with him. He dies in the anime, but he survives in the Sequel Series Ginga Densetsu Weed.
- Speaking of Ginga Densetsu Weed, Kaibutsu falls off a cliff after Weed headbutts him down. But it wasn't the fall that killed him; it was a tree branch.
- In the movie Golgo 13: The Professional, the Big Bad, Leonard Dawson, commits suicide by falling out of his office window to his death. Golgo shoots him in the head before he hits the ground.
- The first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ends with this happening to the Big Bad Moriarty, who it had already happened to before. Hmmm. Like the Treasure Planet example, he fell up. In addition, after the book proper is over, there's a small splash page featuring the silhouette of his corpse continually floating, presumably in space.
- In the Minions of the Moon text story in Century: 1910, during a trip through space, Mina comes across his corpse, still clutching the cavorite.
- The Captain America villain Baron Zemo has gone this way about five times in his various incarnations. He is also known as "Gravity's Bitch".
- In Amulet, Luger dies this way.
- In the early Batman comics, the Joker did this at least four times, but always survived.
- In the Hellboy comics, Herman von Klempt falls off a cliff, his jar exploding.
- Used in the beginning of Watchmen, when The Comedian falls to his death, and we see the body wrecked and the blood spilled. The movie in particular treats it with much spectacle.
- Nicodemus West in Doctor Strange: The Oath slips and falls from the roof of a New York skyscraper. If he hadn't suspended Strange's ability to use magic three minutes earlier, he would have lived.
- Preacher has two examples:
- Allfather D'Aronique. Realizing that Starr had rigged the entire base of Masada with explosives, the human wrecking ball tried to escape via his personal chopper. Sadly for him, Starr managed to intercept and hijack the helicopter in midair. During the struggle, Starr pushed the massive leader of the Grail to his death.
- Eisenstein. The bureaucratic soul of the Grail knew that Starr had a hand - or rather a whole arm - in the demise of the Allfather. And Starr knew that as long as there was any kind of lead, Eisenstein would be able to track him to the ends of the Earth. After trying everything to dispose of him, from car bombs to snipers and ninjas, Starr was able to corner Eisenstein in a building in San Francisco and successfully threw the little man off the rooftop.
- Issue 8 of Marvel's Transformers comic had Ratchet and the Dinobots defeat Megatron in this style. Ratchet manages to knock Megatron over a cliffside they're fighting on, sending Megatron tumbling down the cliff to his apparent demise. Subverted, however, as it later turns out he survived.
- Later, Transformers: More than Meets the Eye had Pharma meet this fate in issue 5. It's played with, though, as one of the heroes purposefully causes it to happen, something this trope was implicitly designed to avoid.
- In Astérix and the Cauldron, Whosemoralsareelastix is defeated this way - he disarms Asterix in a sword fight, is about to go in for the killing blow, and the cliff edge collapses under him along with all of his money. Asterix decides to help him up, though, saying the loss of his money was enough of a punishment.
- This is how most Mooks meet their ends in the Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles series, if not offed by Neck Snap or other methods. After being knocked out of the sky by the heroes, their injuries render them unable to recover flight, and they fall to their dooms.
- Occurs quite a few times in The Lion King Adventures:
- Hago falls into searing flames in Friends to the End.
- In Mtumwa Strikes Back, Mtumwa attempts to knock Nala from a cliff, but ends up sailing past her and falling himself.
- In The Royal Challenge, Simba battles Hila and kicks him from a cliff.
- In Clone Wars, the clones of the cubs are killed when Clone Nala finally accepts that she's not real, crosses the Despair Event Horizon, and tackles the other clones off of a cliff.
- The Interceptor throws Shocker into boiling lava in The Master Plan. Being immortal, he comes back.
- Virusi falls into the lava pit surrounding Pride Rock in The Final Task.
- At the climax of The End, Simba ends the Final Battle with The Writer by grabbing him and jumping off of Pride Rock, mortally wounding them both. The Writer dies first, allowing the universe to reboot, healing Simba in the process.
- In A Pikachu in Love, this is how Pichi defeats the Ursaring that attacked her and Pikachu. Her attacks being too weak to do any real damage, she instead uses her thunder attack to cause a landslide on the hill it's on, sending it plummeting to the ground below. It's ambiguous as to whether the Ursaring survived or not.
- The Legend of Spyro: A New Dawn has the Disc One Final Bosses, Boss Kaze and Empress Tyrania, go out this way. Boss Kaze falls off the side of a mountain after his fight with Pyrus and Delilah and Tyrania falls out of the sky after her heart is destroyed by the heroes (so it technically wasn't what killed her). Delilah promptly lampshades all the ways Kaze's death could've killed him, grossing Pyrus out.
- Night Of The Shy: During the Battle of Canterlot, many of Nightmare's Diamond Dog Mooks end up getting thrown off the side of the mountain.
- Rise of the Galeforces: Velociripper meets his end, complete with a Big "NO!", by being dropped by Adam and Violet off the edge of the harbor pier... directly into King Krok's waiting maw.
- The God Empress Of Ponykind: Celestia cuts off Queen Metamorpha's wings, then drops her off the citadel in Fillydelphia.
- The Pony POV Series side collection 7 Dreams/Nightmare has this happen to the de facto Big Bad of Clover's story: the Diamond Dog Fluffy the Terrible (yes, really) is about to kill her in a shack atop the Canterhorn, when the dragon Bahamut happens to land directly atop of them, sending the whole shack, and Fluffy, tumbling off the side of the mountain. Clover later finds what's implied to be his remains at the bottom of the mountain.
- According to Loose Canon, the G1 villain Somnambula ultimately met her end this way when G1 Shady accidentally knocked her off of a opera theater balcony, sending her falling to her death.
- As shown in the flashback episode about the G1 era's Final Battle, this was the end of Ashley, one of Hydia's family members, when Katrina and Rep knocked her off her mount with a Fastball Special while she was in mid-flight.
- Welcome To The World Of Pokemon uses this with two of the main villains: Archer and Cyrus.
Films — Animated
- Thankfully subverted for Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda: not only is he hurled upward, not down (courtesy of Po's massive belly), but his death (if it even happens) occurs due to the Wuxi Finger Hold, not a fall or any other type of very final, Deader Than Dead denouement. You know what this means...
- The director's commentary during this scene is particularly cagey: though they claim they had to 'get rid of' their villain and that he was 'wuxi-ed into oblivion', they also point out what happened to Tai Lung is never really explained and is 'one of the mysteries of the movie.' Covering their ass in case they want to bring him back, or just trying to be magical and mystical? You decide.
- The holiday special opens with a dream sequence where a giant Tai Lung shows up, prompting Po to say "I thought you were d-" before getting cut off. That only points to what Po thought was true...
- In the ending of Antz, General Mandible tackles Z, and they both have a huge fall. Z falls into water, and after being rescued, survives. Mandible falls into a branch and isn't so lucky.
- Subverted in Titan A.E., when Korso seems to plunge to his death (and did in the original script), only to survive, have a last minute change of heart, and then nobly sacrifice himself to save the heroes he was just trying to kill ten minutes earlier.
- In Balto, Steele falls off the side of a cliff while trying to kill Balto, hitting cliffs on the way down. However, he manages to survive and continue to cause Balto trouble.
- Ice Age has a non-villainous, non-conflict related variation. One of the animals is asking where Fred (presumably a member of their herd) is, to which another states that he isn't coming along as he had an "evolutionary breakthrough." It then shows an animal of the same species (implied to be Fred) running full steam towards a cliff and he starts yelling "I'm FLYING!!" as he's falling before he lands and is implied to be killed, to which one of the herd says "Some breakthrough."
- In Ice Age 3, Rudy is shoved off a cliff by Momma. Rudy survives to see the end credits, however.
- In the Direct-to-Video An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, two of the villain's underlings die by falling down an underground chasm and being drowned by a flood of water, being the only bad guys in any of the An American Tail movies that die. The three main villains of the movie, however, are the only villains in An American Tail who turn out to be Karma Houdinis.
- Don Bluth is fond of these. This isn't surprising, actually, given that he worked for Disney for a while and that classic Disney films had a huge influence on him:
- Jenner has a surprisingly violent one in The Secret Of NIMH.
- We DO see him land though, so it counts as on-screen.
- The Giant Mouse of Minsk chases Warren T. Rat's gang off a pier in An American Tail. They don't die, but they're stranded clinging to the anchor of a boat bound all the way from New York City to Hong Kong. Ouch.
- For anyone who hasn't gotten the problems with this, unless they could find a way to climb up the anchor onto the deck of the ship, they would have to resort to cannibalism to avoid starvation, and would very easily die of exposure. And that's assuming they don't have to drop anchor out at sea.
- Sharptooth's demise in The Land Before Time is actually quite an alarming variation (especially if the viewer is only familiar with the Lighter and Softer sequels): Littlefoot and his herd purposefully toss him off a cliff into a lake and drop a rock on him, causing him to drown. And then, just to make the audience really weirded out, Petrie gets a Disney Death. Dude.
- In the MANY sequels, tossing the film's resident sharpteeth (Sharthoots?) down cliffs or pushing something to fall on their head (sometimes both) is a common way to dispatch them. It's almost a once-a-movie thing.
- Subverted in the 1995 flop The Pebble and the Penguin, where psychotic penguin Drake managed to escape his fall, but is then crushed by his own giant boulder and the entire tower. So he both fell and dropped a rock on ''himself''.
- Subverted in All Dogs Go to Heaven. Carface survives his considerably high fall into water below him. Unfortunately for him, this puts him right in King Gator's sights. All things considered, he would've been better off dying from the fall...*
- Happens to Ludmilla at the end of Bartok the Magnificent where as a result of her being tricked by the titular bat into becoming a dragon, actually goes on a rampage and is lured to the top of a water tower, which then collapses because of her weight, causing her to fall to her doom.
- In the cult animated feature Rock and Rule, the Magnificent Bastard Mok, an aging rock star with dark magical power, summons a demon with an evil song sung by the captive Cat Girl Angel (this is another very kind of movie). Angel's repentant boyfriend shows up just in the nick of time and they banish both the demon and Mok down an interdimensional pit with a good song.
- Happens to Frog Lip at the end of The Princess and the Goblin.
- In the Wallace & Gromit short movie A Matter of Loaf and Death, the psychotic, baker-hating serial killer Piella Bakewell meets her end by trying to escape in a hot-air balloon only to find out too late she's too heavy, and ends up eaten alive by crocodiles offscreen.
- Ineptly used for the villain of The Adventures of the American Rabbit ...who's a bird. They do show that he's gotten very tired and his wings are covered with snow, but he falls/glides very slowly about twenty feet, lands in snow, and the sound effect when he hits is a gentle "puff". Um... I guess he's dead?
- The Mouse King in The Nutcracker Prince fits the bill as he was struggling to almost kill Clara, but he loses strength and falls from the balcony into his watery doom in the waters below Gingerbread Castle. After a splash, his crown is seen floating before it sinks back into the waters.
- Played with in Chicken Run, where the villainess is defeated by falling off an airplane. She survives the fall itself, but is (possibly) killed by the effects of it; the fall triggers a massive explosion, which destroys a barn, which causes the door of said barn to fall on top of her.
- The Last Unicorn: King Haggard falls to his death from the balcony when the unicorns destroy his castle.
- The Prince of Egypt: And not a Karmic one either; while trying to stop an Egyptian guard cruelly whipping a Hebrew slave, Moses accidentally pushes the guard off the scaffolding of the temple, and the guard falls to his death. This causes him to exile himself out of guilt and shame.
- In Tarzan (2013), Clayton and Smith are last seen plunging to their deaths in an out of control helicopter.
- In the 1986 animated adaption of Ivanhoe, this is Front-De-Bouef's fate, as he plunges to his death in the burning inferno of his castle.
- In the Miramax cut of The Thief and the Cobbler, Mighty One-Eye dies falling to his death from atop the cliff overlooking his warmachine.
Films — Live-Action
- In The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Captain Jaggery falls to his death off of the bowsprit after cornering Charlotte up there in an attempt to kill her.
- Middle-earth books:
- Gollum falls to his death in The Lord of the Rings. This is the essential part of the eucatastrophe ending, as the accident also takes the One Ring into the Cracks of Doom, destroying it.
- Eöl gets executed this way in The Silmarillion, and for no particularly valid reason curses his son Maeglin to die the same way.
- Glorfindel and the Balrog fought and fell off a cliff together in The Silmarillion years before J. R. R. Tolkien decided to have Gandalf and another Balrog do the same (some 7,000 years before, in-universe).
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, this is the fate of anyone thrown out of the Moon Door at The Eyrie (which is a castle situated on a high mountain cliff: the moon door is an opening in the throne room leading to a drop of at least a thousand feet). In the third book A Storm of Swords Littlefinger kills Lysa Arryn using the moon door, shoving her out and showing his true villainous nature openly for the first time.
- In the picture book King Crow, the evil king, Bregant, slips and falls from his tower as he tries to run.
- In the Sherlock Holmes story The Final Problem* , Professor Moriarty falls off a cliff — but he takes Sherlock Holmes down with him! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intended for this to be the final Sherlock Holmes story until the fans pressured him to bring the detective back, inadvertently creating an early example of a Disney Death in the process.
- Magua dies this way at the end of Last of the Mohicans. Interestingly, in the movie version, Chingachgook will not dignify Magua's body with a Disney Villain Death, since the heroes are the ones who fall heroically off the cliff.
- In Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy parody/Deconstruction Dark Lord of Derkholm, the main character is hired to play a dark lord for groups of people from another world (possibly our world) who get to act out the typical High Fantasy story. However, he runs out of time to come up with a interesting "death", so he simply creates a pit made to look bottomless and pretends to have a Disney Villain Death. Multiple times a day.
- In Groosham Grange, a school inspector is tortured by Miss Windergast's black voodoo magic (namely a Voodoo Doll) in an attempt to prevent him from discovering the truth about the school and he ultimately falls off a cliff to his death. This example of the trope is a subversion as the school inspector was not a villain.
- Discworld examples:
- At the end of Wyrd Sisters, after Duke Felmet has gone over the edge and started believing himself to be a ghost, he goes over the edge of a parapet while dramatically ranting to Death about how he plans to haunt Lancre Castle.
- Near the end of Guards! Guards!!, the Night Watch has the bad guy cornered, and Captain Vimes orders Constable Carrot to "throw the book at him". Carrot, who was raised by dwarves and has trouble with metaphors, hurls his copy of "The Laws and Ordinances of the Cities of Ankh and Morpork" at the villain, knocking him over a ledge.
- In Hogfather, Teatime's first death comes about from a fall. However, it's one he suffered when hanging on to Susan's leg, who asked herself "Is this guy crazy enough to kill the person holding him?" and based on the obvious answer, kicked him.
- Redwall has a variation. So far, in 21 books, The Sword of Martin the Warrior has only been used twice to directly kill the Big Bad, and once in the most recent book, The Sable Quean. They still can get crushed under giant bells (Cluny, Redwall), drown (Tsarmina, Mossflower), fall down a hole (Slagar, Mattimeo), etc.
- In The Wheel of Time, Mat Cauthon kills off the gholam using a Skimming gateway and this tactic. Bonus points for the fact that the emptiness inside a Skimming gateway is believed to be infinite. The victim should starve to death, assuming it can starve to death.
- Since it has to feed on the blood of its victim, we could assume it can starve to death
- From Les Misérables, we have Inspector Javert, who jumps off a bridge. The 2012 film adaptation upped it by including a sickening CRACK as he hits a ledge in the river.
- An inversion in the Green-Sky Trilogy where Raamo accidentally falls over a cliff into the Bottomless Lake trying to destroy a weapon. Subverted in the Canon video game sequel.
- One villain from Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, a sorcerer whose personal gravity is abnormal, dies by falling from the Earth's surface to the Moon.
- In Splinter Of The Minds Eye, Luke and Leia hide in a great bottomless-seeming well from a monstrous wormlike wandrella, which finds them and tries to follow, but ends up falling down the well. At the end of the book, Darth Vader ends up falling into another well, but Luke is immediately certain that while he's out of the fight, he's still alive.
- A space station in Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi has a deep ventilation shaft whose bottom none of the local treasure hunters have seen. The titular ghost says there's a bottom, but it's a long, long way down. A shapeshifting villain, trying many forms but too wounded to be able to use them properly, falls down it, and Tash actually says No One Could Survive That. He does.
- In John le Carré's first novel, A Call for the Dead, George Smiley kills Dieter by knocking him off a bridge. A combination of My God, What Have I Done? and Heroic BSOD ensues.
- Subverted in Septimus Heap, since DomDaniel actually survives his jump from the Wizard Tower.
- In Warrior Cats, minor character Smokepaw falls to his death when a ledge crumbles beneath him (that didn't stop him from accidentally showing up in future books). Ancient cat Dark Whiskers also got blown off a cliff by the wind in the same mountains. Two ShadowClan cats get killed falling into the quarry where ThunderClan lives, and nearly knock Leafpool off with them, until Crowfeather pulls her to safety.
- Abarat: Mendelson Shape falls from a great height to his apparent death when he kidnaps Candy Quackenbush with a magically created giant moth and hostile hunters in air balloons fire at them. In the second book, it is revealed that he survived his fall, and his true death happens when he is forced to enter the territory of the Sacbrood.
- In The Stoneheart Trilogy, Edie's stepfather falls to his doom when he tries to kill Edie and she retaliates by hitting him hard with a pebble, knocking him into a chasm.
- In The Chronicles of Amber, Brand falls into the Abyss. In the second series, several members of Chaos royalty also "fall" off the edge.
- In The Power of Five: Raven's Gate, Mrs. Deverill falls to her doom when she is pushed by Richard off a railing into a tank of acid.
- Noah falls through a hole in the floor that Matt made by loosening nails and covered with a rug, where he lands on his sickle and dies.
- Jane Eyre: Bertha commits suicide by throwing herself off the roof of Thornfield Hall—falling to her death—after setting the place on fire.
- In Ciaphas Cain: Cain's Last Stand, Cain manages to get Chaos Warmaster Varan to fight him mano a mano near a cliff. Cain outmaneuvers Varan and kicks him over it.
- At end of Rising Sun, Ishiguro throws himself off a 46-story balcony rather than be shunned for the rest of his life back in Japan.
- In another Crichton novel, Timeline, one of the Co-Dragons, Sir Guy, falls to his death after a fight with Kate on some ceiling support beams.
- In And Then There Were None, Doctor Armstrong is pushed off a cliff into a still-choppy sea.
- Sally Bones from Varjak Paw when she falls off of a building and onto the street below.
- In the William Gibson short story "Johnny Mnemonic", the one that the movie was based on, the villainous Yakuza assassin who is pursuing Johnny and Molly meets his end like this, but instead of reaching for his hand, Molly tricks him into chopping it off with his own molecular wire, which also opens a hole in the platform he was standing on with a very long plummet to the city below.
- Subverted in the zombie noir Undead on Arrival, as it's how the main character dies.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, Jack Frost falls from his candy tower into a milkshake moat, and has to be saved by Rachel and Kirsty.
- The Reynard Cycle: Nobel falls prey to this in The Baron of Maleperduys.
- James Bond
- A bad guy in High Time to Kill tries to make Bond and Dr. Kendall jump off from a cliff of a mountain since it's "much more fun" than just shooting them, but after a brief struggle, ends up going over it himself.
- Margareta Piel in DoubleShot is shot in the novel's climactic six seconds, and falls screaming through a window to the street below.
- A particularly chilling example with Wicked Stepmother Stella Crawford in EastEnders. She utters "Watch me daddy" before leaping from a very high roof to her death.
- Dr. Yusef Khan is trapped in a burning house when the floor collapses beneath him and he falls into the flames.
- Sadistic pimp Rob gets a Sherlock Holmes style death when he fights Ryan, the big brother of Whitney, whom Rob had tried to force into prostitution. Ryan throws himself at Rob and they fall from a pier into the ocean. Ryan lives, Rob doesn't.
- Queen Bansheera in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue is karate kicked through a portal into Hell, where she is set upon by her own minions.
- On 24, Habib Marwan, main baddie on Day 4, decides to go out this way, plummeting off a parking garage.
- In Live Another Day, Jack Bauer kills Margot Al-Harazi and her son Ian by throwing them out a window to their deaths.
- In Alias, Sydney faces off against her mother, Irina Derevko, in the series finale. After a rather brutal showdown, the fight ends on a rooftop, where Irina ends up falling through a skylight to her death. Mmmm, closure.
- In an earlier episode, Sydney throws a foe out a plane. He doesn't get to hit the ground, however, as he is sucked into the wing turbine.
- In the second episode of Batman, "Smack In The Middle," the Riddler's moll and Girl of the Week Molly tries to shoot the Caped Crusader in the Batcave, but winds up falling into the atomic reactor to her death ("What a way to go-go") - the only time a woman is killed in the entire series.
- On Bones, Howard Epps hangs off a balcony and Booth grabs his hand and tries to stop Epps from falling the 50 ft. to his death. It fails, however, and Bones and Booth watch Epps fall and hit the pavement, ridding them of a major antagonist.
- In the season five finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy has a two second fight with Doc that ends this way.
- Technically, Buffy herself gets this treatment at the end of the episode, as her Disney Death doesn't take place until the following season.
- The Cold Case writing staff has this as the preferred method of killing off the Victim of the Week.
- In Crossing Jordan, the title character's half-brother threw himself from a third story window into the Charleston River when cornered by the police, taking all his secrets about their mother's murder with him. Though his body was never recovered, he never appeared on the show again, so it's a pretty safe assumption he's good and gone.
- In CSI: New York, Mac is chasing a serial killer across a rooftop. The killer feigns surrender, then attacks Mac, steals his handcuffs, cuffs himself, and tosses himself off the building onto a police car below. Disney Villain Suicide?
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Hand of Fear", the villain falls down a deep black pit after being tripped up with the fourth Doctor's scarf. Being a being of stone, the Doctor suggests he may have survived.
- In "The Age of Steel"' Dr Lumic falls to his doom after Pete Tyler cuts the ladder he was climbing. The place he's seen falling towards happens to be on fire.
- Yet strangely averted in "The Idiot's Lantern", despite the finale taking place on Alexandra Palace Radio Tower. Then again, the villain wasn't exactly physical to begin with.
- A heroic version in "The Daleks" when a character brings it on himself as a Heroic Sacrifice, as he's dangling over a ravine attached to a rope that's pulling his comrades over the edge too. The sight of him disappearing into blackness, coupled with the thunderous noise as he hits the bottom, is quite shocking for a young viewer.
- The Master suffers something similar in the TV Movie, when he falls into the Eye of Harmony. The Doctor's partly responsible, since he shines a light in the Master's face as he leaps at him and causes him to overshoot, but does offer him a hand. (Of course, he's revived to fight again in the Time War, which he also survives.)
- The earliest villain example (or at least Dragon example) comes in Season One's "The Aztecs", when Ixta gets kicked off the top of a temple whilst trying to kill Ian.
- First main villain example comes in Season Two's "The Rescue", where Bennett is so shocked by the appearance of the people he thought he'd killed that he backs away over a cliff edge.
- The Sycorax Leader from "The Christmas Invasion" tries to underhandedly kill the Tenth Doctor, but he throws a satsuma at a button on the Sycorax ship, which causes a part of the ship to open up. This part of the ship just happened to be right underneath where the Leader was standing, and so he falls to his epic fail death.
- The Dukes of Hazzard: Averted several times:
- "Goodbye, General Lee": It almost is for the show's signature (and heroic) car, when Boss Hogg, tired of the Duke boys constantly foiling his schemes (and perceiving the General Lee's "sheer power" in always playing a key role), picks up on Luke's off-handed remark that the General Lee isn't what it used to be. At one point, the trope kicks into effect when Rosco,having earlier locked up the Dukes on a minor traffic charge, and having impounded the General Lee has the car driven out to the country, places the car's transmission in neutral, and pushes it down the hill ... toward a cliff. Cooter is conveniently nearby, sees what's going on, and manages to stop the General Lee (by using his tow truck as a "brake") but then Cooter has his own hands full when he has trouble stopping the truck. (Not to worry, Cooter got his tow truck to stop just at the very edge of the cliff!)
- In "The Great Insurance Fraud," a pair of con artists out to take advantage of Boss Hogg's insurance scam stage an accident by having one of the accomplices drive his car over a cliff, after getting "fake Duke" Coy to engage him in a chase. Coy is led to believe that the other driver failed to escape his car before falling over the cliff, leading to his crushing (and fiery) death.
- "Sitting Dukes": Uncle Jesse and Daisy are forced to drive a stolen vehicle (a laundry truck, taken by two escaped convicts that were that week's villains of the week) to try to divert attention of authorities who are pursuing the criminals and the Duke boys; the authorities are unaware (or, in Sheriff Little's case, uncaring) that Bo and Luke have been taken hostage and made at gunpoint to cooperate. Jesse and Daisy eventually decide to drive the truck to a winding road and jump out before the vehicle plummets into a ravine and bursts into flames, in their own attempt to get the authorities off their trail. (It didn't work, as Sheriff Little still takes them in for questioning.) Meanwhile, Bo and Luke are told — at gunpoint by their desperate captors — to drive the General Lee through a raging forest fire to get the authorities off their trail, putting everyone's life in extreme danger.
- "When You Wish Upon a Hogg" begins with Hughie tricking Boss into believing in the power of an oil lamp ... and ends with Bo and Luke having their hands full trying to save Hughie from tumbling (in his van) over a cliff; Hughie initially balks, afraid of what he thinks the Duke boys will do to him and wanting to save all his ill-gotten money. In the end Bo is able to pull Hughie from the van, just as it begins to topple from the cliff. (BTW, the beautiful "genie" that was "in the lamp" the shockingly beautiful Trixie, was not harmed; she was already being held in jail as Hughie's accomplice.)
- Also from Joss Whedon, the torturer from the Firefly episode War Stories falls into the abyss after being shot to death.
- On Heroes, Nathan falls off a rooftop in his final appearance on the show.
- Kaito Nakamura is tossed to his death off of the Deveaux rooftop by Adam Monroe.
- In Justified, Raylan has to confront Coover in Brother's Keeper, leading to Coover's plunge down the mine shaft.
- Doctor Shinigami/Ikadevil in the original Kamen Rider. Gets tossed off a cliff by Rider 1 (all while EEEEEEIIIIIII'ing) then, when he recovers from the fall, he immediately explodes.
- Colonel Zol in his Gold Werewolf form is punched off a cliff by Kamen Rider 2 and explodes on impact.
- On Las Vegas, Monica Mancuso note stands on the rooftop of the Montecito in season three and rants about how, one day, she will own the entire Las Vegas strip. Then, in a bizarre twist, a huge gust of wind catches her ridiculous outfit and she flies off the roof and into a shoe store.
- And in the season five premiere, Sam's kidnapper falls out of his airplane to his death.
- Leverage: Ruthless investor Latimer and the team's first client/target fall off a ledge while fighting over a gun, which goes off before a splash is heard. Unlike the above, their bodies aren't seen but it's highly unlikely they survived... probably.
- Happens to the White Witch in the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe... but not in the book or, ironically, the Disney version where she gets mauled to death by Aslan (although we're spared the details). Apparently that was considered a bit strong for Sunday tea time viewing, so Aslan simply roars at her, causing her, either through magic or simple fear, to fall to her death.
- Another good guy (technically) example: in the season five finale of LOST (technically by Disney too), Juliet bows out in a way very similar to Helga Sinclair. She falls down a deep pit — and survives. In a final Heroic Sacrifice, she triggers a bomb that was tossed in the pit earlier and then there's a fade to white... though she dies in the following episode from her fall-related injuries.
- In the Series Finale, this is how The Man in Black goes out, when he is shot by Kate and kicked off the cliff by Jack.
- You know, we can't bring up Lost without mentioning what Locke's father did to him, can we? Although it doesn't qualify as "Death", it broke his spine.
- Murdoc in MacGyver gets at least three of these: fell down a mountain, fell down a mine shaft, fell off a cliff. Naturally, they Never Found the Body, and he survived all three times.
- In the finale of Maddigan's Quest, Ozul and Maska follow Circus Brat Garland out onto the high wire rather than waiting at either end to trap her there. The result is rather predictable.
- Merlin - Aredian the Witchfinder dies by falling out a window rather than being killed by Merlin like most of the villains.
- In the season 2 finale of Nikita, this is how Nikita and Percy's final confrontation ends. As Percy's about to make his grand escape, he attempts to kill Nikita, and in their struggle, he falls over the edge of Division's missile silo. Nikita grabs him, but ultimately lets him drop. Ironically, when he hits the bottom, he crashes into the glass prison cell he spent the first half of the season locked up in.
- Pretty Little Liars: After being revealed as A, Mona Vanderwaal falls off a ledge during a struggle with Spencer. Spencer even reaches out to try and pull her back, but isn't able to. In a subversion, Mona lives through the fall and is eventually found criminally insane and confined to an insane asylum for treatment.
- Lionel Luthor is taken out of the show this way in Smallville, also an example of Klingon Promotion and Dying to Be Replaced.
- In Stargate Atlantis, Michael returns in the final season to kidnap Teyla's son. Mama Bear instincts kick in, and she ultimately throws him off the top of Atlantis' central spire. And that is NOT a short drop by any stretch of the imagination.
- Star Trek: Voyager - Michael Jonas falls to plasma in engineering and dies in his attempt to kill Neelix.
- In season one of Supernatural, the Meg Masters demon is thrown out a seven story window. Being a demon, she survives. However, after the demon is purged from Meg's body, the girl dies from the wounds given to her from the fall that happened a few episodes ago.
- Third Watch: Though drug kingpin Donald Mann (played by Gene Simmons) went down in a pool after being shot three times, right before the confrontation that leads to his death, he chucks a subordinate off the building roof, and we see the sod embedded into the roof of a car on the street below as Yokas and Cruz arrive on scene.
- The Nineties Adventure Show The Adventures Of Sinbad was extremely fond of this trope.
- The third season finale of Primeval has a double-villain death. Helen Cutter is pounced on by a Velociraptor while standing near the edge of a very high cliff, pushing her off and resulting in the deaths of both her and the raptor.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road", the villain Moonface meets his end after the heroine knocks him out of his mountain cabin and he falls into a ravine.
- On Breakout Kings, Big Bad serial killer Damien Fontleroy is finally pushed off a roof and onto the hood of a car. Considering that the show was cancelled after that season, it made for a pretty spectacular ending.
- Muhammad Hassan fell victim to this trope after his match with The Undertaker at The Great American Bash. After the match, Undertaker tore off several of the panels covering the stage and giving him a Last Ride through the hole, complete with a rather disturbing sounding crash a few seconds later. While other wrestlers have taken falls from high heights as part of their match, sometimes being put out of action, this was meant in storyline to kill off the character, as UPN forced the WWE to remove him from the air.
- A tragic non-villain example happened to Owen Hart, who during his entrance when he rappelled in from the rafters, fell 78 feet to his death. It was only by luck that this didn't happen on national television, who saw only a backstage promo instead.
- Narrowly averted in the infamous "Hell in a Cell" match at the 1998 "King of the Ring" pay-per-view, where Mick Foley — playing his Mankind gimmick — not once but twice took severe falls. The first was the now-legendary one, where his opponent, The Undertaker, threw him off the top of the cage, with Foley crashing through the Spanish Announcers Table and onto the arena floor. Foley, it was said, was knocked unconscious after taking the fall, and even Jim Ross exclaimed, "Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him! As God as my witness, he is broken in half!" Miraculously, Foley recovered, rallied to beat down Undertaker before Undertaker came back to give Mankind his second bump of the night — being chokeslammed through the top of the Hell in a Cell structure and onto a pile of thumbtacks on the mat below; this fall also knocked Foley unconscious, leading the Undertaker to believe at first that Foley had been fatally injured.
- Dungeons & Dragons module I10 Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill. At the climax of the adventure the evil Creature and the Alchemist Strahd topple over the edge of a cliff and fall to their deaths below.
- The Master Builder, written by Henrik Ibsen. The main character, Hallvard Solness, falls from a high tower at the end of the play, promptly losing his life when he cracks his skull against a rock. Doubles with Family-Unfriendly Death. And as main characters go, he is not of the heroic type.
- In Urinetown, Cladwell is killed by being thrown off the roof of the UGC headquarters building, as revenge for Bobby being killed in the exact same way.
- In Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, one of the security trolls for Gringotts loses its balance while attempting to attack the riders and plummets down off a cliff.
- Megatron in Transformers: The Ride is sent falling off a building after being fatally wounded by the Allspark shard. Before the vehicles pull back into the station, you see that he's almost literally become a part of the pavement.
- Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: Countless animated shorts have featured the villains suffering their last defeat by tumbling over a cliff, crashing over a waterfall, getting mauled by lions, and an endless number of other indignities. The most famous victim: Wile E. Coyote, of course!
- The Simpsons: Several have been depicted:
- "The Otto Show," where — due to Otto's reckless driving of the school bus, he runs a tour bus with the members of Spinal Tap off the road and over the side of a cliff, where it crashes into flames.
- Hans Moleman has also been involved in several accidents with cars he has driven going over the side of a cliff.
- One of the Comi Color Cartoons, Balloon Land, features an almost proto-example for animation, as the villain of the picture, the Pincushion Man, is trapped in a ball of tree sap and is sent rolling to his doom, falling off a cliff into the lands tens of thousands of feet below...
- Jonny Quest TOS.
- "Monster in the Monastery". Jonny bursts some bags of oil with a bow and arrows. A villain wearing a yeti costume slips on the oil, rolls down some stairs, and then over the edge of a cliff to his death.
- "Dragons of Ashida". One of the dragons chases Race Bannon out of a cave mouth. Race jumps up and grabs a tree branch and the dragon falls to its death at the base of a cliff.
- Subversion in Jonny Quest The Real Adventures. During the episode "In the Realm of the Condor", the villain of the episode battles Johnny on a bridge and they both fall off. Johnny grabs onto the ledge and the villain grabs onto Jonny. As you would expect, she loses her hold and falls down into the gorge. However, we actually see her, screaming all the way down, as she is seconds away from being splattered onto the sharp rocks below. (At least they didn't show the actual landing...)
- Another example. "Ndovu's Last Journey" had a fight in an elephant graveyard. A villain falls and we see (from his point of view, no less) him fall towards the business end of an elephant skeleton tusk. The view cuts away before impact, but we do hear a rather nasty sound effect and see other characters flinch.
- In the episode with the Philosopher's stone, the bad guy is attacked by a magical hawk (really) and is trapped inside the building with his two henchmen as his equipment is destroyed and the building explodes. Jonny, Jessie, and Hadji, meanwhile, escape just in time.
- Scorponok and Terrorsaur were removed from Transformers: Beast Wars this way. The last we see of them is Terrorsaur's outstretched hand sinking into lava. This death was originally intended for Waspinator, whose popularity saved him at the last minute.
- This may be a Shout-Out to the first season finale of Transformers, where after the rest of the Decepticons fell into the magma, Megatron went out the same way. (For a minute, anyway).
- Speaking of which, this appears to happen to Beast Wars Megatron when he takes the spark of G1 Megatron. Tarantulas and Quickstrike rebel against him and throw him into the lava and his apparent death, though he comes back, even better than before.
- And then in the sequel series Beast Machines, both Optimus Primal and Megatron are destroyed when they fall down a shaft in a slightly similar fashion to the main reactor of the Death Star.
- In the Season 3 Finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Wookie Hunt, Garnac meets his demise by being Force Pushed by Ahsoka Tano out a door and falling off a ledge and onto the deck of his floating fortress.
- Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender: While stopping Chin the Conqueror and creating Kyoshi Island, Avatar Kyoshi causes Chin to fall to such a death when he stands on the newly-formed cliff, refusing to accept his defeat, and the rock crumbles. However, Kyoshi makes it very clear that she doesn't see the difference between a Disney Villain Death and killing him herself; the end result was that she was responsible for Chin's death.
- Azula looks like she is going to get one when she is knocked off her airship, complete with helpless rag doll flailing involved. So naturally, the Gaang is upset when she rockets to the nearby cliff by way of firebending, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome way no less.
- The final battle against Ozai could count as an aversion as well, given that it takes place upon a series of massive pillars that seem perfectly designed for Ozai to fall to his doom after attempting to backstab Aang. He does indeed attempt to backstab Aang after Aang spares his life... but Aang finds another way to stop him.
- The episode "Sneak Peek" in Batman Beyond had a nifty variation. The episode introduced a muckraking journalist who could control his tangibility; he could sneak into locked rooms and spy on people unseen. Sadly, he lost the ability to control his powers and fell through the building! The sequence is brilliantly animated, though there's a bit of uncomfortable Fridge Logic when Bruce wonders aloud if the poor guy is doomed to fall to the Earth's core; kind of a harsh punishment for a relatively minor baddie.
- The Powerpuff Girls Musical Episode See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey has this happen to the title villain, who, in the only dialogue in the episode that isn't sung, makes a final speech on the way down.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "Power-Noia" had Him battling the girls in Dream Land, where he was defeated and thrown over a ledge into a bottomless abyss by Buttercup. Being a recurring villain who can exist As Long as There Is Evil, he survived, but that did defeat him for the time being.
- Also in "Insect Inside", after the girls destroy his cockroach army, Roach Coach falls off a building into the streets below. Blossom is horrified and when the girls examine his body, they discover that he was a robot controlled by a super intelligent cockroach, which did survive.
- In the Grand Finale of Codename: Kids Next Door, the last we see of the Delightful Children is them falling from a broken roller coaster and into a giant broken toilet, sure victims of this trope. Incidentally, Father seemingly meets his demise by also falling into a giant pit earlier in the same episode (but not before transforming into The Dragon), but in his case it is subverted by showing him to be alive and well in the framing story.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog pulled this on part of Courage's rogues' gallery at the end of a Villain Team-Up episode. Just as they have Courage cornered, Courage, at Muriel's urging, screams so loudly that the floor gives way and the affected villains (Katz, Cajun Fox, The Clutching Foot, and the Queen of the Black Puddle) all plummet into a chasm.
- In the New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", The Joker mock-subverts this trope. He jumps from one rooftop to another, but falls off and lets out a horrified scream as the camera cuts away. Cut back to him standing on the roof of a train that had been passing under him and yelling: "MADE YOU LOOK!" After a fist-fight with the dark knight atop the train, he does, however, fall into a normal false death.
- The Joker actually gets this a lot. He has fallen off trains, rooftops, roller coasters, and everything else that is more than ten feet off the ground. Besides him, most of the other Batman villains have suffered this fate at least once. Bane fell off a boat, Freeze fell in SubZero, and Two-Face nearly fell off a building to save his coin (but was saved by Batman). However, these villains were shown to have survived every single time.
- Inverted in "Over the Edge". Scarecrow knocks Batgirl off a building to her death, but we see her injuries and she has time to say her Final Speech. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
- Speaking of which, Harley seemingly gets this in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker as both Batgirl and she are thrown over a cliff during their fight. Batgirl tries to save her but is holding her by the cuffs on her costume with tear and send Harley plummeting into the abyss. It's mentioned they did search for her, but Never Found the Body. Subverted later on in the movie as we see an elderly Harely alive and well berating her nieces, the Dee Dees.
- In Superman: Doomsday, the Evil Superman drops Toyman to his death. In front of the whole city.
- In the Family Guy episode "North by North Quahog", Mel Gibson suffers this fate after falling off of George Washington's nose on Mount Rushmore, because Christians don't believe in gravity.
- In another episode, Michael Eisner is thrown to his death, parodying Indiana Jones.
- An android version of Hannah Montana is taken out in the same manner as King Kong.
- Diane Simmons in "And Then There Were Fewer". Just as Lois is about to be shot, Diane is shot herself as she kneels, at first glance about to fall to the ground, but then falls off the cliff and screams, splashing into the waters below.
- Happens to the psychotic hitchhiker at the end of the Tiny Toon Adventures movie How I Spent My Summer Vacation. But being a Jason Voorhees Expy, it doesn't stop him from reappearing in the finale.
- At the end of the fourth season of Winx Club, the Winx fairies and the warrior fairy Nebula use coverage to freeze the three remaining fairy hunters in the Omega dimension. After being frozen, the three evil wizards fall into a hole as the cave starts collapsing.
- Double Subverted in the second season finale of Teen Titans. Terra throws Slade off a cliff and into a river of lava, but he catches himself on the rock, pulls himself back over the edge, and grabs her by the throat, at which point she blasts him over the edge with her full powers unleashed, and just so we know he's dead, we then see his mask dissolving in the lava. He comes back from that too, courtesy of the show's Satan-Expy, but that's not for another season. He outright said he would've been dead if Trigon hadn't intervened though.
- In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin's fight with Asajj Ventress ends with Anakin pummeling on Ventress with a lightsabernote , but instead of Ventress getting cut to ribbons, the cliff she's standing on breaks, sending her into the abyss below. The other Clone Wars cartoon, Star Wars: The Clone Wars makes it clear she survived. It takes place after the the previous one, and she is a main villain in it.
- In Regular Show, this happens to Susan in "Benson Be Gone". After she goes One-Winged Angel, a one shot character named Utopia performs a Heroic Sacrifice to send her falling into a pit back into Hell.
- In Blazing Dragons, Count Geoffrey is accidentally knocked out the tallest window in Camelhot by Sir Loungelot. Although it is debatable whether the fall kills him, we never see him again for the rest of the series.
- In Arthur, a tyrannosaurus rex falls off a cliff while trying to eat another dinosaur.
- Inverted and Subverted in the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Old Friends" where heroic Old Soldier Panthro flashes back to the battle where the Big Bad and The Dragon presumed him dead. Panthro's power-hungry friend Grune, offered a position as Sorcerous Overlord Mumm-Ra's right hand, begins to fight when Panthro declines his We Can Rule Together. Grune knocks Panthro off the edge of a platform in Mumm-Ra's lair, sending him falling into a dark pit. Later, when pursuing his Evil Former Friend, Panthro sourly rants about how difficult it was to climb out.
- At the end of the season 2 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Queen Chrysalis and her changelings are hit with a powerful magic spell and are sent flying over the edge into the distance. This seems fairly Team Rocket style, but the distance they must have fallen exceeds both distances Twilight nearly fell in the second and fifteenth episodes put together. Judging by the fact they don't bother putting the shield back up, it's fair to assume the heroes at least believe it took her out for now. While nothing in the show has confirmed whether or not she survives, the Expanded Universe IDW comics do depict her return (and explicitly show her surviving her fall).
- In Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, the sheen number of times Dick Dastardly ends up plummeting vertically downwards from substantial heights after the critical failure of yet another improbable aircraft - sometimes saved by Muttley, sometimes not.
- In an alternate future episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Joker once again falls off something tall, this time a bridge. He survives and returns years later, even lampshading his ludicrous survival rate, but the fall left him crippled and reduced to using a hover-chair to get around.
- Sym-Bionic Titan: The traitor during the invasion of Galaluna is stabbed through the gut by Lance and topples over the edge of a bridge to his death.
Film - Live Action
- Tsu'tey fell to his death in Avatar. His death is confirmed in the extended edition.
- Sarah, tragically at the beginning of Cliffhanger.
- In Star Wars, Mace Windu is sent falling from a tall building by Palpatine after Anakin turns to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith.
- In the 1999 TV movie adaptation for Alice in Wonderland, during his performance of "Aunty's Wooden Leg" the Mad Hatter trips on the table while dancing and appears to fall to his death in an unseen deep hole, only to pop his head up from under the table, unharmed.
- In The Riddle of Master Lu, some of the ways Ripley can die involve falling out of sight after trying to trust a method of crossing a chasm or climbing a wall that aren't reliable.
- Zig-zagged in Fire Emblem Awakening. It appears that Gangrel attempts to invoke this, and in fact Emmeryn falls off the cliff. Subverted in that Emmeryn actually survived.
- In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, Ratchet falls off a platform after being shot in the chest by Alistar.
- People can be thrown out of Dio's hideouts and the Kennedy Space Center in Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle as part of their Situation Finishes.
- Mass Effect 3:
- This is how Tarquin Victus dies at the end of his mission.
- Tali dies this way, too, if you fail to establish peace between the geth and quarians, and side with the geth in the resulting battle - the quarian fleet is wiped out and Tali commits suicide by throwing herself from a nearby cliff.
- In the bonus chapter of Cursery: The Crooked Man, this is a given since the villain of the chapter is Humpty Dumpty. He falls to his death from a windmill after being sprayed in the face with a noxious perfume when a cat appears out of nowhere and blinds him with its claws.
- Corpse Party Sakutaro Morishige goes mad from realizing that he has accidentally been fetishizing Mayu's remains. He screams horribly then jumps out of the window. He is never seen again.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has many subversions. In Sonic Rainboom, Rarity, in a Shout-Out to Icarus, flies too close to the sun, burns her wings, and falls, inadvertently taking the Wonderbolts with her. Thanks to Rainbow Dash and her Sonic Rainboom, however, this ends a bit differently than the tale of Icarus.
- In Secret of My Excess, Rarity once again nearly falls to her doom, this time along with Spike after he, in his giant form capturing Rarity with his tail, returns to his original form. They are saved by Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.
- And then in Wonderbolts Academy, Lightning Dust's tornado nearly sends Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity falling to their doom, but other pegasi save them.
- There's also two lesser instances of Twilight nearly falling to her doom. One has Nightmare Moon send her falling off a cliff, but Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy catch her; the other has her jump off a cliff from a violent Hydra, and would have been killed if a bog bubble didn't appear under her to bounce her up to the other side of the cliff.