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It's Raining Men
Hallelujah!

"We are droppin' into hell, troopers! Time to grow a pair!"

Simply put, people falling from the sky, or at least a great height, then landing safely, at least for them. This is accomplished in Real Life via parachutes or gliders, but in Speculative Fiction it can be done through Powered Armor, Jet Packs, special pods, or Applied Phlebotinum. Usually an airplane is involved, but balloons, cliffs, a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, a tall building, or even a magic castle will do.

This trope is only very marginally related to the song from which it takes its name. (In the music video, several guys are shown parachuting in on the two singers... using umbrellas.)

A Super Trope to Drop Pod.

Compare Fast Roping, Drop Ship,

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The titular Evangelions (including the ones mass-produced by SEELE) do hard drops once in a while.
  • The Forwards in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS frequently perform this without the aid of parachutes. Air Mages have Flight capabilities. Ground Mages have to settle for hard drops, with their Barrier Jackets likely cushioning the impact.
  • Gundam: The 08th MS Team does this in one episode.
  • In Hellsing: the Dawn, Walter jumps out of a plane without a parachute while carrying Alucard and his coffin. He lands perfectly unharmed.
    • Seen again when Millenium begins its invasion of London. The troops, being veteran Nazi soldier vampires, don't need to bother with parachutes.
  • The opening of the Spring OVA of Mahou Sensei Negima! had Negi's entire class skydiving from Ayaka's private plane to reach the beach resort. Why? Why not? Although in this case it's less "raining men" and more "raining girls and a Welsh shota".
  • In the Escaflowne movie, the soldiers of the Black Dragon Clan are dropped to a city about to be occupied from airships in capsules that have the aerodynamic properites of a brick, and absolutely no padding inside. This doesn't prevent them from walking out in perfect formations.
  • In the unlockable OVA included in Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter X, "The Day of Sigma," X is deployed in trying to stop a maverick outbreak by being airdropped at the area the attack is going to occur at, eventually when at close range he fires an immense charge shot at the maverick, knocking it down temporarily.
  • At the conclusion of the Ragnarok arc of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, the Elder airdrops Kenichi into the final battle.
  • One scene in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within involves soldiers jumping from a plane, but instead of using parachutes, they deploy "High Density Gas", a slug of gel-like compressed gas that starts rapidly evaporating upon impact, forming a cushion into which the soldier falls as if into water. Within a couple of seconds, the entire slug dissipates into the atmosphere without a trace.
  • Used by the Sky Clan in episode 8 of To Aru Hikuushi E No Koiuta. Fortunately for the main characters, they ultimately repel the landing attempts, although not before suffering some extensive damage to their island.

    Art 
  • René Magritte's painting "Golconda" depicts dozens of his trademark bowler-hatted men in a geometrical formation above rows of houses. They might be falling, but the general Mind Screw nature of Magritte's work means they might just as easily be rising, or moving sideways, or just hanging there.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America seems to do this a fair amount. Here's one instance, where he actually lets go of the parachute because "I better get down there faster!"
    • On another occasion he was dropped out of a plane, in a tank. He landed it on top of the Hulk.
    • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, he was a member of the 101st Airborne Division during WWII, but curiously enough, he didn't wear a parachute because they were for girls.
  • In Y: The Last Man every man on Earth (except one) has been killed by a mysterious plague, but the protagonists encounter a Russian woman who claims that two surviving male astronauts from the International Space Station will be landing in Kansas. Later in Kansas Dr Mann, who's been skeptical about the whole idea, looks up to see the re-entry vessel falling on the end of its parachutes.
    Dr Mann: "I don't believe it. It's raining men."
    Agent 355: "Hallelujah!"
  • "It's Raining Xavins!" during the Skrull Invasion in Runaways.
  • The first issue of the original Metal Men series focused on the team dealing with The Rain of the Missile Men!
  • The titular character of PVT Murphy's Law is a paratrooper.
  • GIs in Rogue Trooper are intended to be dropped in capsules from space to quickly overrun enemy positions.

    Fanfiction 
  • Aeon Natum Engel has a example of dropping on already mid-air Migou swarm ships from even higher altitude with Marines in Power Armor and EVA 02. It works.
  • And If That Dont Work uses hard drops regularly, far more than canon. Such as the Ramiel battle. Unlike the canon this time the pilots regularly sing paratrooper songs. It's that kind of fic.

    Film 
  • The films Drop Zone and Terminal Velocity, were about skydiving along with an Extreme Sport Excuse Plot.
  • A scene in Point Break, which the Mythbusters proved was impossible, save for one part.
  • A similar scene in Moonraker, where Bond catches up with the guy with the parachute and steals it.
    • The another guy who falls from a place in the movie? He's called Jaws, he's Made of Iron, and he survives the fall without a chute!
    • This was parodied in an episode of the TV show Red Dwarf, where Ace Rimmer goes one step further and rides a crocodile down through the air and then steals the parachute. What a guy!
    • It was also parodied in the Get Smart movie, where 99 has to save max as he falls without a parachute.
    • Another Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, has it rain snowmobile paragliders (aka parahawks).
  • Another Bond example in The Spy Who Loved Me, where James Bond skis off the edge of a cliff to avoid Soviet troops and pops a parachute with the British flag on it.
  • The opening of the GIJoe movie has Cobra attacking the Statue of Liberty with paratroopers.
  • At the climax of Honeymoon In Vegas, Nicholas Cage parachutes onto the Vegas strip dressed as Elvis.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
    [Eddie is falling; Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, both wearing parachutes, join him]
    Bugs Bunny: Eh, what's up, Doc? Jumping without a parachute? Kinda dangerous, ain't it?
    Mickey Mouse: Yeah. You could get killed. Heh, heh.
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965) depicted Operation Greif, with English-speaking Germans parachuting behind Allied lines to perform sabotage and disinformation missions.
  • In a scene cut from Star Trek: Generations, Kirk is shown freefall space-diving.
    • The latest film had Kirk, Sulu, and a Red Shirt (who opened his chute too late so he could show off) skydiving from the stratosphere.
  • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith clone troopers come down on ziplines, guns blazing.
  • Once again, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ups the ante for all of us, with Optimus Prime being dropped into battle! Repeated near the end of the film with his corpse.
    • The Decepticon protoforms at the end of RotF don't so much fall, as crash into the desert. The commonly held belief is that Soundwave is slinging them.
    • Dark of the Moon a squad of NEST soldiers do this in wing-suits, similar in design to a flying-squirrel.
  • Red Dawn (1984) opens with Soviet paratroopers landing on the school oval. The teacher naturally assumes they're US military on exercise who've landed in the wrong area, and when he goes out to talk to them gets shot by the Dirty Communists in a Kick the Dog moment.
  • Likewise the 2012 Remake Red Dawn (2012) takes this trope very literal.
  • Played for laughs in Shoot 'em Up.
  • In Spies Like Us, Austin Milbarge and Emmett Fitz-Hume are forced to make a parachute jump without any training as part of a test of their abilities.
  • Operation: Dumbo Drop, a Very Loosely Based on a True Story movie that ends with an elephant being parachuted into the drop zone.
  • The Longest Day, about the D-Day invasion of Nazi-held Europe, prominently features paratroopers, including showing what happened when paratroopers were dropped right on the heavily defended town they were supposed to take, namely getting slaughtered by the Germans defenders.
  • Saving Private Ryan: The titular Ryan.
  • A Bridge Too Far most likely has the record for the most real paratroopers dropped for a fictional film, as the producers managed to get 11 Douglas C-47 Skytrain (or Dakota) WWII aircraft along with a number of more modern planes which were not shown on film, but all had NATO troops with the old fashioned parachutes jumping out of them for the film.
  • A practice jump is the first scene of Act of Valor, and a HALO drop is later used.
  • Godzilla (2014): The trailers and film rather impressively shows a group of soldiers HALO jumping into San Francisco in order to find the nuclear warhead that the MUTOs have taken in order to disarm it. The scene features them jumping through the clouds into the unknown of the destroyed city to the tune of György Ligeti's Requiem, better known as the Stargate music from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Ernest Goes to Camp used this with turtles to attack the miners.

    Literature 
  • Cordwainer Smith's short story, "When the People Fell". The first step in the Chinese colonisation of Venus is a parachute landing by several million people.
  • The Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers drops from orbit and used parachutes and/or jets during part of the reentry. They also refurbished an old paratrooper joke about Napoleon's tomb.
  • The SF novel Footfall had a mass paratroop drop by invading aliens who looked like small two-trunked elephants.
  • The Shadow of Saganami makes a big plot point out of a massed drop of power-armored Royal Manticoran Marine Corps heavy company on a suspected terrorist hideout. They've dropped from the shuttle, though, not from the orbit, and used tethered countergravs, so it was actually very close to Real Life paradrop.
  • In the Dragonlance Chronicles Draconians would drop off of the Flying Citadels and would glide down to land wherever they were supposed to attack.
  • John Ringo's Ghost had a SEAL team dropped in to rescue the titular (anti)hero from a specially configured B-2 "Spirit".
  • John Scalzi's Old Man's War has the elite "Ghost Brigades" landing on an occupied planet through an orbital skydive. Scalzi described how their nanotech works to keep the heat from re-entry from reaching the cocooned trooper.
  • The Yuuzhan Vong drop troops on Coruscant in this manner in the middle of the New Jedi Order series. A couple of books later, some commandoes, including Luke Skywalker, infiltrate Coruscant from orbit using special pods that appear to be re-entering debris from the battle.
  • Several occasions in Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium series:
    • The protagonist bodyguard and his charge are dropped to a planet in an outdated emergency landing pod. Said pod is described as "useful to deliver some non-fragile goods or passengers suffering from excessive optimism". They land safely and actually manage to leave the planet with the still intact pod in the next book.
    • As the books are set in the Master of Orion universe, various operations from space are mentioned or described, including orbital drop raids on Alkari planets (the bird-like Alkari are superior in space combat, but their planetside settlements are vulnerable) and never landing on Bulrathi worlds (the bear-like Bulrathi are feared close combat fighters, but their ships aren't particularly remarkable in space combat).
    • On the Gral' world the protagonists witness 9 rings of shooting stars and one single shooting star in the middle, until one remarks the "fireworks" are the Empire's regular orbital drop procedure - 9 groups of 111 men each and the commander of the unit dropped last. The actual rings are due to the part of the planet being "Evil Ground", where only some chosen humans and those bound to the chosen by friendship or insane hate may walk. The marines are dropped around "Evil Ground", their commander is the first of the chosen and lands spot-on to confront the protagonists.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, one battle tactic that SkyClan developed and later ThunderClan used involves the attackers hiding in trees above the battlefield, and then dropping down all at once onto the enemy. This often works, seeing as it has quite the element of surprise, and of course it can't feel nice to have someone land on you from many times above your head height, but if the opponent is expecting it and dodges, this can result in nasty injuries for the falling cats.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Band of Brothers follows a company in the 101st Airborne Infantry, and shows the airborne landings during operations Overlord and Market Garden.

    Music 
  • As stated in the description, the music video for It's Raining Men has the singers and a bunch of men parachuting in via umbrella.

    Pinball 
  • In Zen Studios' The Avengers Digital Pinball Table, starting "Quinjet Multiball" will cause the Quinjet to fly over the playfield and drop pinballs into the action.
  • At various times in Gottlieb's Gladiators, the player must drop off a swaying "crane" with proper timing to land in the Abyss saucer below.
  • The main toy in Rescue 911 is a helicopter that flies over the playfield and can be used to airdrop the pinball on strategic targets.
  • In Ruiner Pinball, hitting certain targets will cause paratroopers to fall from the sky onto the playfield.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Various races in Warhammer 40,000 have troops equipped with jump packs dropped off by aircraft to descend on a battlefield, as well as drop pods—armored pods fired straight at a planet from orbit—used for extremely rapid troop deployment. There's even a special term for it: "Deep Strike".
    • The Space Marines in particular love using this, likely to enforce their imagery of elite troops, as rapid and precise deployment is a common characteristic of elite troops in Real Life. Another reason is because it enforces their imagery of the "Emperor's Angels descending in a ball of righteous fury". The Codex Astartes names this manoeuvre Stehl Rehn.
      • How endemic is this? One of the Soul Drinkers novels gave us a drop assault Zombie Apocalypse.
      • Blood Angels like fast tanks so much that they air drop their Land Raiders since it's the only way they can keep up with the faster tanks.
    • Imperial Guard regiments use grav-chutes (essentially less powerful jump packs that work like parachutes) whenever they deploy troops or light vehicles from the air. Specialist regiments like the Harakoni Warhawks and Elysian Drop Troops employ this trope in a very literal sense by being able to drop entire formations consisting of thousands of men from the skies.
    • Although all troops who enter battle via It's Raining Men are Deep Strikers, not all Deep Strikers rain down into the battlefield—some of them teleport or burrow instead.
    • One of the Space Ork special characters actually had his feet replaced with Power Klaws so that he could be more effective when dropped straight into close combat.
    • Eldar Swooping Hawks and Dark Eldar Scourges do this by use of actual wings (mechanical in the former, bio-engineered in the latter).
      • Eldar Autarchs, many of whom having mastered the Swooping Hawk Aspect, use the same mechanical wings to enter battle, even using them to leave battle for a short while and return after dropping a number of grenades.
  • Similarly, BattleTech occasionally makes use of paradropped-from-orbit Humongous Mecha. The preferred method is still to let the DropShip touch down properly or at least get down far enough to let jump-capable 'Mechs make a low altitude drop onto the battlefield, but special reentry cocoons that break away at the proper altitude and free them to ride down the rest of the way using jump jets or packs make orbital drops feasible, if risky.
  • The Airborne Elites in the tabletop war game Hero Scape are paratroopers who have a habit of dropping out of nowhere and throwing grenades all over the place. Flavor text on the Heroscape website states that they are dropped in by Valkyries.
  • Paranoia
  • Classic Traveller. The Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #19 article "Parachutes" has complete rules for using parachutes in the game, including the results of failure.

    Video Games 
  • In the classic video game Sabotage (a.k.a. Paratrooper or Ack-Ack Attack!, among other titles), this is what the bad guys do in wave after wave. This is a subversion in a sense, as your job (playing as the anti-aircraft gun turret on the ground) is to prevent the men from landing safely.
  • MICHAEL! Wilson does this in Metal Wolf Chaos directly FROM SPACE and does a hard landing into a tank.
    • It seems to be his preferred method of entrance for most missions, actually.
  • Not men, but goombas in Super Mario World, can parachute down, sometimes over half a dozen at once.
    • And in Super Mario Bros. 3, some flying Paragoombas would rain swarms of Minigoombas down on the plumber's head.
    • Another recurring enemy are Lakitus who throw spikeys down at Mario.
  • One of the Special powers gained from the Airfield in Command & Conquer: Red Alert and sequels is "Paratroopers", which drops a bunch of infantrymen at the designated spot. Not particularly useful most of the time, but it allows for some interesting possibilities in the right tactical environments, not to mention the fact that you're getting around a dozen soldiers for free every couple of minutes. When you can garrison these guys inside a structure and expect them to take down even an Apocalypse Tank in a straight fight as a result, that becomes extremely useful on urbanized maps.
    • This was intensely more useful for the Allies in Red Alert 2, as the Allied GI was significantly better than their counterparts, the Soviet Conscripts, and a half dozen of them could put up a significant fight. The USA subfaction also had a different paratrooper ability, which meant that they could conceivably drop fourteen GIs (pretty formidable), anywhere on the map, for free, every few minutes.
    • In Tiberian Sun, there's also the elite Orbital Drop Soldiers—veteran soldiers who arrive in drop-pods equipped with machine guns, clearing the drop-zone the hard way. More like hailing men, really.
    • Tiberium Wars allows for the rapid orbital deployment of Zone Troopers, which gets you three squads of Troopers anywhere on the map for only a few thousand credits, actually saving you a bit of cash and putting a dozen railguns into a position where they can inflict a lot of agony.
    • Generals gives this ability to the USA faction, allowing them to deploy up to 24 Rangers via paradrop. In the Zero Hour Expansion Pack, this is also available to the Chinese Infantry General. The Chinese Tank General does it with tanks.
    • Red Alert 3 gives the Allies the Century Bomber, which can load a group of infantry and then drop them at a selected location; the Soviets have the Bullfrog, which launches infantry (or bears) via a machine called the "man-cannon".
  • Ace Combat Zero has a mission in which you protect dropping paratroopers and their transports from being shot by enemy gun placements. The whole game is a re-envisioning of World War II in the Ace Combat world, so the comparison is apt.
    • Ace Combat 5 has a mission with parachuting tanks. Supposedly, you can destroy them by shooting the parachutes off at high altitude, but it's easier to just let them land and shoot them to pieces with your guns. The last mission of the game also has friendly paratroopers taking objectives on the ground. It also put a Shout-Out to the US 101st Airborne (before a typo made it the 122nd)
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, units with the Drop Pods special ability can do air drops within a certain radius of any base or airbase. Or "Orbital Insertions" anywhere on Planet, once you have a specific technology or have built the Space Elevator. A good strategy against the AI (which inevitably neglects its air defenses) is to run an air-based blitzkrieg, using well-armed 'copter units to clear bases of defenders and then drop high-armor paratroops in to capture and defend your conquest. You do need to be either geographically close to the faction you're fighting for this to work, or at least capture a base or two to serve as a beachhead; not only is there a limited range for Drop Pods, the 'copters need to refuel every turn or else suffer damage.
  • Similarly, in most incarnations of Civilization, there is at least one Paratrooper unit that can make airdrops; since Civilization III, these play animations of the unit paradropping when you use that functionality.
  • In World in Conflict, it rains men when you order paratroopers through the tactical aid menu. Other infantry are delivered by helicopters, but unlike in Real Life, it also rains heavy tanks and artillery—they are always delivered by paradrop. Also, there is a prop in the map editor (used on some official urban maps) that allows you to literally rain men on some area, preferably, off map, since they don't affect the gameplay at all.
  • End War averts this trope in terms of the standard methods of deployment. Riflemen can be deployed behind enemy lines using an ability called Deep Strike, which has those riflemen rappelling out of a helicopter. Other troops and vehicles can also be deployed by helicopter outside of their standard landing zones, averting the unrealism of airdropping them (though having multiple vehicles that don't look as if they would fit in that one helicopter drive out of it...).
  • The ODSTs (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers), also known as the Helljumpers, in Halo use SOEIVs (Single-Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicles), also called HEVs (Human Entry Vehicles), despite the fact that their parachutes sometimes malfunction... or the pod hits the water and they drown... or they smash into cliff faces... This makes them the second most hardcore soldiers on the human side, next to the Spartans. Don't mention that to their face.
    • One of the novels also has Spartans landing from space... WITHOUT vehicles. Granted, four were killed on impact, six more were too badly injured to fight effectively, and everyone else was in various states of injury that would've left a regular soldier near-helpless. It's been established that standard-issue Spartan armor has Inertial Dampening and can "lock down" during an orbital fall, which comes in handy for Master Chief later in the games.
    • The Covenant are also fond of this tactic, both the orbital and suborbital varieties.
      • Elites have their own version of an HEV pod as first seen in Halo 2.
      • Covenant dropships and Phantoms also frequently rain down their troops on UNSC forces when they don't have the proper landing area to unload.
    • The ODSTs' nickname comes from the fact that after the HEV's lead skin peels off, the ceramic layer begins to burn — which causes the interior of the pod to become really hot.
  • Section 8 is a FPS which utilizes this constantly—your character will 'burn in' instead of respawning, which means they get shot out fast enough to hit the ground in ten seconds from a dropship at 15000 feet, allowing you to drop anywhere on the game map. Naturally, there is the possibility of enemy interference while burning in (from AA guns). There are also no parachutes, though you may brake and slow your descent anyway. If you don't, you won't have control over your Player Character, so they'll just go straight downward from the chosen burn-in point until they hit the ground, and take an extra second to ready themselves from hitting the ground at 500 feet a second by hitting the ground on impact with both hands and getting up. They wear particularly cool Powered Armor, if you were wondering how one could survive that (Ok, Variable Terminal Velocity still sounds like it's in effect).
    • Since multiplayer involves Section 8 fighting the virtually identical Arc soldiers, their power armor can do all the same stuff.
  • Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri uses the powered armour with jump-jets variety.
  • Being a Warhammer 40,000 RTS, Dawn of War allows various factions to use Deep Strikes too.
  • One level of No One Lives Forever takes place during a free fall, as you must shoot enemy paratroopers while falling to catch another one and steal his parachute, in an homage to the scene from Moonraker above. Once you do so, what follows is one of the most hilarious moments in the game:
    Helpless Mook: (Falling towards a barn) "Please be full of hay! Please be full of hay! Please be full of..." (CRASH!)
  • In Battlefield 2142, the one of the fastest ways to get from point A to B safely on a Titan map is in a drop-pod launched from the Titan. You (used to) get the added bonus of taking down any aircraft, troops, or light vehicles that you meet on the way down. If you're in a squad, and the squad leader deploys a spawn beacon, you can be pod-dropped (from really high up rather than just titan height) at the beacon's location.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic 2, you get to ride a Basilisk war droid down to the surface, then continue your spree of badassery on the ground. This was set up in the original, where Canderous Ordo could relate a tale of his first raid, and you could gush "I want one of those droids!" You don't play the same character in the sequel, but you still get to enjoy it vicariously.
  • Hearts of Iron, naturally. The AI doesn't handle it very well, though.
  • The initial wave of the human invasion of Stroggos in Quake II was to basically fire an entire army down onto the surface in individual drop pods. It (mostly) failed.
    • It seems the main causes of death in the Quake games are drop pod issues, Marine stupidity and enemy fire. In that order.
      • In Quake IV, the Marines seemed to have wised up and use Drop Ships instead, which still get blasted apart like flies. Then, towards the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, they break out the pods again. The results aren't much better than they were in the first game, either.
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne of course.
  • Mega Man X: X does this in the in-game OVA of the Continuity Reboot Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X. He jumps off a chopper thousands of feet up above the sky. Coupled with Crowning Moment Of Awesome because he shoots off a mechaniloid (a Mook, sort of) while in mid-air, and it hits.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Naked Snake drops into Russia twice. Once via HALO jump, then again via a small drop pod.
  • Syphon Filter 2 opened with an FMV cutscene showing the hero on a transport plane. The plane is shot down, and the hero makes a freefall jump from the exploding wreckage. The player gains control of the hero while the parachute is still in the air, which the first time it happens comes as something of a shock. Shortly after, it starts raining mooks.
  • In Corncob 3D, a 1992 Flight Simulator, parachutes were implemented in a fairly realistic (for the times) manner. Open them too early and you'll spend hours drifting to goodness only knows where. Wait too long to open them and you start blacking out due to terminal velocity. While none of the missions force you to paradrop, one scenario did require you to bail out of your plane before it crashed into the alien power generator and then fight your way back across the battlefield.
  • In the Earthsiege/Starsiege games, the Cybrids were big fans of HERC pods, drop pods containing one mecha each. Of course, considering the fact that you can only play as a Cybrid in Starsiege, they are mostly just used in the first two games as a way to put enemies on the map from out of nowhere.
  • In the classic Run and Gun game MDK, every level started with an orbital drop in which you dodge incoming AA fire on the way to the mine crawler you were looking to wreck.
  • All the WWII methods of airborne insertion are used in Company of Heroes. US Paratroopers are some of the best infantry in the game, with an optional antitank weapon and a default ability to build field defenses. They can reinforce lost squad members anywhere, and given the extreme flexibility awarded to infantry in this game, are basically all you need on the campaign missions where they are used. Some of the Support Powers offered in the Airborne Company include paying a premium to drop a paratroop squad anywhere, dropping an anti-tank gun (and its crew), and dropping a nice heavy supply load containing heavy weapons. Expansions and later campaigns add in glider deployments for commandos and vehicles.
  • America's Army lets you train your character to take part in para missions.
  • The WWII MMOFPS WWII Online now features paratroopers. Players can coordinate and fly their own para missions.
  • It certainly looks like this when you deploy units in Makai Kingdom. Given the setting, this would not be a surprise.
  • In the MMOFPS Planetside you could enter into battle via orbital drop. In the early days the shuttle that took you up to orbit only left every fifteen minutes.
    • Let's not forget the Galaxy transport that can drop a dozen men from midair rapidly and safely. Well, depending on the landing zone, anyway. This effect can be multiplied many times depending on how many pilots and troopers you have.
  • In the Advance Wars series, Sensei's CO powers paradrop 9HP footsoldiers onto every city he owns. Given that Infantry and Mechs are the game's Goddamned Bats, this can be very useful - and very annoying for your opponent.
  • In Power Dolls it rains girls... in armored power loaders. See in the trailer. Also, delivery via missile launched from a submarine. At least in the first game not only player manually drops units from their planes, but sometimes one lands badly and get its chassis crippled.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, both the heroes and villains use devices called Manadrives which manipulate gravity to perform epic HALO drops, stopping themselves literally inches from the ground (which is highly reminiscent of the HDG in The Spirits Within).
    • Final Fantasy VIII had this occur several times during the Battle of the Gardens. Galbadia Garden first uses launchers to send troops on motorcycles to land in Balamb Garden and then sends troops over using flying mechanical battle suits.
  • Final Fantasy VII had the playable characters do this. When they return to Midgar at the end of the 2nd disc, the party parachutes down to the city from the Highwind.
  • In Prototype, Alex Mercer enjoys doing this from the tops of skyscrapers.
  • You don't actually get to paradrop in Modern Warfare 2, but the "Wolverines!" mission features Soviet paratroopers blanketing the skies in a direct homage to Red Dawn (1984). Every once in while you catch glimpses of a parachute and its associated corpse draped over a power line, thus demonstrating the downside of this trope when it's applied in a suburban environment...
    • The very first Call of Duty had you play as a pathfinder in the 101st Airborne for the American section of the campaign, with the British section of the campaign having you play as a member of the 6th Airborne Division instead. The United Offensive expansion also has you as a (different) paratrooper in the 101st Airborne for the American section of the campaign.
  • Using some sort of airborne vehicles to drop units is a staple of both TBS and RTS genres. This can be done both for actual ground conquest and for suicide missions.
    • Advanced Strategic Command has paratroopers and the Weasel — a weak paradroppable buggy carrying one infantry unit, which allows transport planes to deliver anything from mines to mortars to anti-air missiles to the battlefield.
  • Starcraft II, mercenary units (the ground ones at least) are deployed this way, but only right at the base of the Merc Compound. A possible upgrade allows you to do this for any ground unit at any location. You can also do this with Supply Depot^s.
    • The Zerg have their own version, a fleshy torpedo that hits the ground releasing a few Zerglings and creating a Creep tumor.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog seems to love doing this a lot after blowing up whatever space station Eggman is situated on, but usually, he'll be caught by Tails in the Tornado airplane.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic breaks out of a plane, tears off part of the wing and falls out of the sky into a very San Francisco-ish city...and then slides down the hills using that wing piece.
    • He had a less successful fall in Sonic Unleashed after being turned into a Werehog...and dropping out of space to plummet to Earth.
    • Shadow does the exact same thing in Sonic Adventure 2, except people believed that it had killed him.
    • Sonic does it (again) when he falls from the skies of Camelot after being summoned there by Merlina.
    • And even before that, Shadow does it again on the opening level of Shadow the Hedgehog, when you fall from the sky, through a sky scraper, and then onto the streets.
  • Occurs in the Dam level in Goldeneye Wii, which swaps out the original's bungee cord for a parachute. Bond jumps off the dam without the parachute, and uses the water flowing out of the dam to break his fall instead.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]'s one and only trailer features a scene like this, giving birth to the quickly-growing-memetic term, "It's raining Soras!"
    • In the game itself, the visual is used to illustrate about how many times, and in how many ways, Sora's visited Traverse Town.
  • In Just Cause 2 enemy reinforcements may parachute in. Also, Rico's parachute allows him to rain One-Man Army.
  • Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution can safely fall from great heights using the Icarus Landing System. Later, many heavily armed soldiers drop in to the Alice garden pod area.
  • Some levels of Return to Castle Wolfenstein have Paratrooper squads drop in.
  • Airborne drops with wanzers happen from time to time in the Front Mission series. Notably, several missions in 5 allow the choice of paradrop insertion or surface assault, and the Cavalry arrive for the last battle via HALO.
  • Similarly, Armored Core units in V and Verdict Day is usually dropped in via specialized armored helicopter dropships called Storks. In fact, Stork pilots are considered mercenaries of their own alongside more traditional AC pilot mercs, and are usually called Storkers. Said large dropships are also heavily armed and are often a match against ACs, especially when employed as fire support role.
  • The Demoman and Soldier of "Team Fortress 2" can perform something that resembles this using sticky bombs and rockets, respectively. It can be a useful tactic for getting around a strong enemy defense, or to get very close to an enemy for a melee attack while minimizing the foe's chance of landing an attack of their own.
  • Mass Effect: In the first game, Shepard and company typically deploy by dropping their Awesome Personnel Carrier, the Mako, straight out of the Normandy's underbelly several hundred feet above the ground, trusting in its mass effect fields to land it safely. By the third game, the Mako has been abandoned in favour of shuttles and now it's the enemies who do air-drop deployments; entire missions can resemble a meteor bombardment, except that Cannibals come out of the craters, while Cerberus troops even have jet boots to help them land safely.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Skippys List has examples:
    35. Not allowed to sing "High Speed Dirt" by Megadeth during airborne operations. ("See the earth below/Soon to make a crater/Blue sky, black death, I’m off to meet my maker")

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League used this in the Grand Finale "Starcrossed" with the Thanagar army descending from the sky. Considering they are all Winged Humanoids, it produces a surprisingly biblical image.
    • And inverted in JLU with Cadmus sending missiles at the watchtower filled with clone Tyke Bombs.
  • The theme song for Total Drama World Tour features the castmates falling off the Jet, parachuting to the ground and landing safely. ...Except Ezekiel.
  • X-Men: Evolution had one episode where Captain America and Wolverine performed this in World War 2. Since their mission required quickness, they did it without parachutes. Justified in that both have a healing factor and the plane nearly landed to accomplish this.
  • One episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show had them joining the army to become full fledged tank paratroopers. (That is, they were put into tanks that had parachutes strapped to them that were then dropped from planes. Seeing as how the tanks were on fire and falling like stones in spite of the parachutes, one can only assume they were on a suicide mission.)
  • Jonny Quest episode "The Fraudulent Volcano". Dr. Quest and Race Bannon must bail out and parachute down when the plane they're in is shot down by an invisible beam.
  • In a rare example of a bad guy pulling this on a hero, in Curious George: Follow That Monkey, security jerk Danna Wolf leaps out of an airplane to chase George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. Seeing that they had a parachute and he did not, he caught up with them and saved himself by hanging on the Man's boots.
  • An early episode of Exo Squad had members of Able Company doing an orbital insertion on occupied Earth in pyramid-shaped entry capsules.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. In "Jungle Jeopardy" Penelope used her scarf as a parachute after jumping from a plane.
  • Played with in the Futurama episode "Tip of the Zoidberg" during a flashback sequence where a young Zoidberg and (relatively) young Farnsworth scream in terror as they are tossed out of a plane until their parachutes open, where they immediately switch to a casual conversation. Their landing, along with the rest of their peers, isn't quite so casual.
    Zoidberg: We'll be safe as long as we stay out of the methane swamps! *lands in swamp, sniffs* What smells like methane?
  • Parodied in the South Park episode "Grey Dawn" with senior citizens attacking the town. Their parachutes even have the AARP logo boldly printed on them.
  • Planes Fire And Rescue features ground based vehicle characters jumping out of a cargo plane character as smoke jumpers.
    "We're not (jumping out of perfectly good airplanes) We're jumping out of you!"

    Real Life 
  • Pretty much any paratrooper formation, from the famous and badass United States Army Airborne divisions, likewise famous and badass Russian VDVs to the less famous but no less badass 2e Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes of the French Foreign Legion. Although largely supplanted by helicopters since World War II, paratroops are still maintained and occasionally employed by the few militaries with the resources and skills to support their use.
    • America is in love with this trope. Rangers, Green Berets, and by proxy Delta Force all require you to have gone through Airborne school. The Air Force's equivalent to the Rangers, Green Berets and Delta Force? USAF Pararescue. And Marines are training to do this.
      • Not just that. Skippy of Skippys List fame was in a PSYOP unit. His job was to make propaganda illustrations. Those units also require soldiers to have completed Airborne School for some reason. US Navy SWCC's are boat operators who are required to go to Airborne School. One of the requirements for US Army parachute riggers (the guys who pack parachutes) is that they not only go to Airborne School, but regularly jump with a parachute that they packed (giving some motivation to pack properly, one supposes). The Air Force even has special operations weather forecasters who do this.
  • The first time paratroopers were used was during the German invasion of Denmark on April 9, 1940, where they captured the Storstrřmsbroen bridge. Whilst certainly critical to the invasion, more conventional methods may have worked just as well, since the fortress guarding the northern end of the bridge was manned by only three Danish soldiers.
  • Operation Market Garden (September 17, 1944-September 25, 1944) was an Allied military operation in World War II in the Netherlands and Germany. It was the largest airborne operation in history, delivering over 34,600 men of the American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, the British 1st Airborne Division, and the Polish Brigade. 14,589 troops were landed by glider and 20,011 by parachute. Gliders also brought in 1,736 vehicles and 263 artillery pieces. 3,342 tons of ammunition and other supplies were brought in by glider and parachute drop.
    • And it was a failure. The troops were scattered, and the 1st Airborne were dropped far away from their target (the critical bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem, the whole reason for the operation). There were more German troops nearby than expected, namely two Panzer Divisions resting up (intelligence from local resistance forces on German troop concentrations was received by the Allies, but was ignored). The 1st Airborne managed to take the bridge anyway, but they were eventually overwhelmed and forced to surrender before the Allied relief forces could arrive. Despite the taking of several other bridges leading to Arnhem by the rest of the Allied airborne units, the primary objective of the operation, capturing a bridge over the Rhine in order to bring an end to the war in Europe in 1944, was not achieved. Estimated Allied losses are between 15,000 and 17,000 people.
  • One of the largest air drops in history was on the eve of D-Day, where Allied airborne units landed to take strategic locations in preparation for the amphibious landing. Due to mistakes in recon, some paratroopers ended up being dropped in waterlogged fields with some of them ending up drowning in water that was maybe 1-2 feet deep, due to their heavy equipment.
    After the demise of the best Airborne plan, a most terrifying effect occurs on the battlefield. This effect is known as the rule of the LGOPs (Little Groups of Paratroopers). This is, in its purest form, small groups of pissed-off 19 year old American paratroopers. They are well trained. They are armed to the teeth and lack serious adult supervision. They collectively remember the Commander's intent as "March to the sound of the guns and kill anyone who is not dressed like you" - or something like that. Happily they go about the day's work...
  • Operation Varsity, an airborne drop intended to aid the crossing of the Rhine towards the end of WWII, is the largest single-day drop at 16,000 men.
  • German paratroopers during World War II:
  • There's also plenty of this in modern warfare, of course. For example, High Altitude Low Opening deployments, which are designed to get recon troops inside enemy territory undetected.
  • Old Joke: The commander went to the assembled men and laid out the mission: "We need to precisely insert a team of commandos deep behind enemy lines. To avoid German radar we'll have to fly low and fast, no more than 200 feet off the deck. It will be dangerous and some of you may not survive the jump, so we need 20 men. Anyone who wishes to volunteer, take one step forward." A slim handful stepped forward, all Green Berets. The commander was disheartened until a grizzled sergeant whispered to him. "Parachutes will be provided!" he announced, and the rest stepped forward.
    • Variation on the above: Commanding officer in the Gurkha regiment is called in to see the top brass. TB say "Now look here, we need to insert your squad behind enemy lines. In order to do so, you'll be deployed from aircraft flying at 200 feet to avoid radar. Can you do it?". Gurkha CO shakes his head. "The planes must fly at 100 feet." Top brass look baffled. "If they fly at 100 feet your parachutes won't have time to open." Gurkha officer perks up. "Oh, we get parachutes?"
  • Non-military example: Smoke Jumpers, the most Badass firefighters of all.
  • PJs. Quite possibly the most badass medical professionals in real life.
    • And in an awesome example of compensating, they come from the Air Force.
      • This is great compensation because the Air Force is viewed as a sort of cushy Wesley in the armed forces. Its status as The Scrappy is second only to the Coast Guard.
  • While the Americans, British and Germans had the most famous paratrooper forces during the Second World War, the Japanese had their own. The Rikusentai and the Teishin Shudan were the paratoopers of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army respectively. They participated in numerous campaigns during the early parts of the Pacific theater.
  • The Red Army's paratroops probably had the worst time of it and the lowest survival rate of any airborne troops during WW2. Prior to the war Russia had raised paratroop divisions and they were a proud part of pre-war propaganda movies - thousands of parachutes raining men is always impressive in any propaganda movie. However, in the confusion and chaos surrounding the initial German invasion in 1941, hundreds of transport planes were destroyed on the ground. Paratroop units were caught a long way away from the stores that held their parachutes. In desperation, the Red Army command brought together the men and as many planes as were still left. The paratroops were ordered to climb onto the wings, lie flat and hold on tight. From slow-moving transport planes flying low, they were ordered to let go over the drop zone and try to land in deep snowdrifts, so as to cushion their fall. The results of dropping men without parachutes, even from suicidally low altitudes, was predictable. Incredibly, some men survived a flight on the outside of a plane in sub-zero temperatures, and dropping from fifty to a hundred feet, and did what they could. An unintended consequence of wasting their paratroops this way was that surviving men who had not only lived but evaded German capture became the trained nucleus of partisan units operating behind German lines, bringing hope, expertise and weapons to the resistance movement. The Russians learnt from this and future paratroop drops were largely better organised and small-scale, used to insert trained men to raise partisan units.But partisan survival chances were notoriously low...

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