A character is falling from a great height and has no conventional parachute. What to do? Improvise with something else! Usually it's an article of clothing, though a Rubber Man
can make himself/herself the parachute.
is a Sub-Trope
. A Badass Cape
or a Parachute Petticoat
may be used. Puny Parachute
is a sister trope.
Please Don't Try This at Home
unless you are, yourself, falling from a great height and have no parachute.
Anime & Manga
Films — Animated
- Spider-Man on at least one occasion created a parachute using his web shooters.
- In some Silver Age Batman stories, Batman's cape doubles as a parachute.
- In the Modern Age, it's sometimes used as glider to slow his fall, with the added bonus of allowing him to reach the safety of rooftops, all while looking really cool. Same basic principle.
- Indiana Jones used a blanket once.
- In the comic-only sequel to The Great Mouse Detective, it is revealed that Ratigan survived his fall from Big Ben by using his cape as an improvised parachute.
- Donald Duck and his nephews who were disguised as Indians while trailing after Scrooge McDuck in a comic book story use their blankets as parachutes after Scrooge bails out of a commercial airplane owned by his company with a parachute.
Films — Live-Action
- Disney's Aladdin: Aladdin and Abu use a rug as one when they jump out a window during the song "One Jump Ahead".
- The Incredibles:
- Elastigirl uses herself as an improvised parachute after Syndrome blows her plane out of the sky. Using her kids as ballast.
- She does this again during the climax when she has to save Jack-Jack after he falls out of the arms of Syndrome.
- Alice's skirt in Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland.
- Indiana Jones used an inflatable liferaft when the plane he was on was about to crash into a mountain in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
- This also doubles as Special Effects Failure as you can clearly see the dummies in the raft as it flips over several times in the air.
- The Baroness' long skirt in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also acts as a parachute when she is shot into the air by Grandpa.
- In The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon saves himself with a piece of plastic this way. Probably the least expected object to become a Chekhov's Gun.
- In Peewees Big Adventure, Pee-Wee and Mickey drive off a cliff, and the convertible top of their car serves as a parachute.
- The Smurfs in the self-titled live-action movie and its sequel use their own hats as parachutes.
- This may have its origin in The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol, where Grouchy's new hat that he receives as a Christmas present could be used as a glider.
- The Dark Knight. When the Joker throws Rachel Dawes out the window of Bruce Wayne's penthouse, Batman leaps after her in a desperate attempt to save her. He grabs hold of Rachel but can't get his batwings deployed properly as he's falling vertically instead of gliding, while also bearing Rachel's weight. Fortunately they still slow them enough to absorb the impact with the help of a Car Cushion.
- In Angels & Demons, Langdon used a tarp to slow down the fall from an exploding helicopter.
- In Super Folks, the Lois Lane expy's skirt acts as a parachute when she is thrown off a skyscraper. It turns out she is not wearing underwear which gives quite a show to the rescue workers below.
- In Rendezvous with Rama, a character used his shirt as a parachute. Justified since the main purpose of the 'chute is to ensure he hits water feet-first.
- Attempted in the French novel Windows on the World, as one of the characters tries to escape from the burning North Tower of the World Trade Center by using a large curtain as a parachute. It works... for the first few seconds, before Reality Ensues and he ends up killing himself and two people on the ground.
- In Chinese Mythology, Shun is often considered to be the first parachutist. According to legend, Shun was repairing the roof of a granary when his father and step-brother set it on fire. Shun escaped by using two big straw hats as an improvised parachute.
- In the SNES version of Aladdin, if Aladdin collects the bedsheet in the first level, he can use it as a parachute for the rest of the game.
- American McGee's Alice: Alice's dress slows down her fall (and also helps her float over air vents).
- In The Jungle Book, if Mowgli falls from a great enough height, his loincloth will fold into a parachute, slowing him down but exposing his buttocks.
- Kurt Hectic's coil suit in MDK has long streaks that, when held like a hood, lets Kurt either glide or float downwards softly, or get carried to great heights if he's in an updraft.
- Psychonauts: Raz can use his psychic powers to create an improvised parachute - he creates a literal Thought Bubble and grabs onto the dotted bit.
- In Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Risky's Hat is used by Shantae in this manner, letting her glide over large chasms or float around with the help of some updrafts.
- In The Simpsons: Virtual Bart, during the Baby Bart level, Baby Bart can use his diaper as a parachute when he is airborne.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Subverted in Schlock Mercenary, when the amorphous Schlock plans to jump off the top of a skyscraper with a big canister of valuables, using himself as a parachute... but it doesn't work, and he winds up having to improvise on the way down, turning the parachuting into a bungee-jump...
- In Casey and Andy, Quantum Crook saved himself from falling into lava by making a parachute out of his trenchcoat and boot laces.
- The Herculoids
- In "Defeat of Ogron", Gloop takes the shape of a parachute to lower Zandor to safety.
- In "Mekkor" Gleep provides this for Dorno.
- Samurai Jack: Jack uses his own clothes as a parachute in order to reach greater heights using blasts of air from the ground.
- In one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Jerry uses a bra as a parachute.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: After a fight against the Dark Hand off a snowy cliff, Jackie grabs the shirt off Tohru and uses it as a parachute.
- Happens again in a later episode when he jumps out the window of a castle to escape the Shadowkahn and uses the curtain as a parachute to get down the side of the cliff safely.
- The Magician often used his cape this way.
- On the Dungeons & Dragons episode "Day of the Dungeon Master", Presto's magic hat acts as a parachute when the gang fall off the back of a roc — for all of them but Eric, who misses his grip and has to be saved by Hank.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pizza Delivery", the pizza SpongeBob is delivering becomes a parachute, held to the box by strings of cheese.
- Early in the "Jungle Jeopardy" episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Penelope uses her scarf as a parachute after her airplane falls apart in flight.
- One episode of the 1960s The Inspector cartoon had him and Sgt. Deux-Deux falling from the cliff. Deux-Deux grabbed the tent he was carrying, saving both him and Inspector. Unfortunately they landed next to a hungry tiger.
- Hammerman's parachute pants.
- Animaniacs: In "Operation: Lollipop", Buttons uses a mailbag as a parachute.
- Grossology: In "Hirsute Yourself", Abby uses her giant beard (It Makes Sense in Context) as a parachute.
- The Smurfs escape being captured by Lord Balthazar by using a sack as a parachute in the cartoon show episode "Flighty's Plight".
- In the first act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Battle Action Bogus", Bogus is falling down a cliff until he pulls out a T-shirt, which he uses as a parachute to slow his fall. Unfortunately for him, a pair of buzzards are flying by, with one of the buzzards snatching up the T-shirt and Bogus falls once again.
- In the Title Sequence, Stripperella is seen using her hair as a parachute.
- Camp Lakebottom: In "Frankenfixer", McGee uses Sawyer's handkerchief as a parachute.
- This was futilely attempted by those trying to escape the inferno that was the World Trade Center on 9/11. Witnesses reported seeing numerous jumpers holding tablecloths that they clearly thought would allow them to drift to the ground safely, only to have the wind rip it away and leave them to fall to their deaths (which tragically would have happened anyway, as the tablecloth material was nowhere near thick enough to provide any kind of substantial resistance)