"Knock, knock!"There's a door the heroes must get through! But there's a lock (often involving a complex computer combination lock) in the way. Our heroes have to get past it, to get the weapon, or the artifact or whatever MacGuffin is important to the plot right now. They don't have a brilliant hacker kid like young John Connor or mutant kid like Micah. Somebody tries to pick the lock, or to blow powder on it to see what the most used key combinations may be, or find some other way to get the lock open before time runs out. But to no avail. Time to use the master key: Your boot! Along comes The Big Guy who just punches it in, smashes it with a rock, kicks it, blasts it with a weapon, or runs into it head first. The lock gets crushed, sputters feebly, and the door obligingly opens. Occasionally you have a speedster or a robot picking the lock by blazing through all combinations faster than the human eye can follow. One of the more common variants is the hero putting his (or her) shoulder to the door, which obligingly opens, usually on the first try. This has led to the common subversion: hero applies shoulder, Newton's third law tells the hero to lie down on the ground and whimper. The "subversion" is what would actually happen. If you really want to open a door, kick it. Otherwise you'll have a closed door and an injured shoulder. This trope is responsible for Evil Overlord List entry #96: "My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa." It's also a subtrope of Cutting the Knot. And when the magic phrase Open Sesame fails, you still have this as an alternative; sometimes the party using force to open the door will even say "Open, says me!" See also Dungeon Bypass and Steal the Surroundings. Related to Axe Before Entering and Shoot Out the Lock. The Subverted Trope, where they bust down the door, and an ally notes they didn't need to, is We Have the Keys. And the trope wherein they could've used the door but smash through the wall instead is There Was a Door.
— John Wayne after kicking down a door in Brannigan (1975).
open/close all folders
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Togusa suggests that he pick a lock, while Batou just kicks the door down.
- At the beginning of the Bount Arc in Bleach, Ichigo and Co are trying to get into their kidnapped friend's house. They consider knocking the door down but Ichida calmly picks it instead. Later when they need to get in again, they decide that they're in too much of a hurry but the door's opened from the inside before they can open it.
- In Busou Renkin, during the attack on the school, one of the L.X.E.'s familiars is telling the students to throw things at everything in the courtyard (the homunculi are immune, the heroes aren't). To get through the looked door, Daihama smashed it with a cry of "DIE DOOR!"
- In one chapter of Sgt. Frog, Momoka's street-fighting mother Oka circumvents the newly-installed set of heavy locks on the entrance to Keroro's Elaborate Underground Base by simply ripping the door open with her bare hands.
- In one episode of The Big O, Roger is with his snarky Robot Girl companion Dorothy and they come to a locked door. Roger takes out a lock picking device he had stowed away, and gets ready to use it, but Dorothy just calmly pushes the door open and gives him a look.
- Played with in Berserk during the Griffith Rescue mini arc. When the team finally reached Griffith's cell at the bottom of the Tower of Rebirth, the warden/torturer locks them in the room behind a door that was four times the thickness of a normal door. He then proceed to gloat about how he tortured and maimed Griffith for a year... which only served to piss Guts off even more before he eventually decided to ram his BFS through the door, at the same time skewering the warden, cutting off the warden's tongue, and finally allowing him to slide from the sword to his death down into the pit.
- Rorschach from Watchmen does this repeatedly, mostly to his friend, the second Nite Owl's, door. Of course you could argue he was asking for it using a company called Gordian Knot.
- In Miracleman, Miracleman and a secret agent approach a giant vault door. The secret agent discusses finding some explosives to open it up. Miracleman dismissively embeds his fingers into the vault door, rips it out and throws it over his shoulder.
- The Flash does this with the 'push every button until sparks fly out' method.
- A humorous version occurs when Mortadelo y Filemón pay a visit to the President of the USA. A security guard goes through a number of scans and checks (iris scan, voice recognition, access code, etc.) to open a door in the White House, prompting Mortadelo to remark that "Security sure is tight." Then along comes the cleaning lady, who just kicks the door a few times to open it. Perhaps she is an Almighty Janitor.
- Superman, being the ultimate Flying Brick, does this occasionally. If you're super-strong and invulnerable, any door is only locked if you want it to be...But it's not enough to avoid the Bucket Booby-Trap.
- In The Authority, Jack remarks how much he hates kicking in doors because he feels bad for the people who clean up afterwards. Fortunately it turns out that Midnighter can pick locks faster than Jack can kick anyway.
- Done a few times in Astérix, usually by Obelix.
- In Sin City, when Marv is locked in Kevin's basement, he simply runs head-first into the huge, thick, vault door until it eventually breaks down. The movie contained a slightly different escape where he rips the barred window out of the wall.
- The Infamous Doom Comic: On Page 2, Doomguy opens an important-looking door this way.
Marine: Knock knock. Who's there? ME! Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me! *KRAAAAK!*
- Examples from the Calvinverse:
- Rupert and Earl blast down Calvin's door in Calvin and Hobbes III: Double Trouble.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- Calvin attempts to do this in "The Case of the Rogue Water Balloon". Doesn't work.
- His mother, on the other hand, does it perfectly well in "Robot's Day Out".
- In The Pez Dispenser And The Reign Of Terror, the duplicate smashes open a door in Socrates' mansion.
- The protagonist tries this in Sophistication And Betrayal, but fails badly and injures his leg in the process.
- Nav tries this in Diaries of a Madman, which doesn't work. One of the Day Guard later almost breaks his leg by trying to kick down Nav's front door.
Films — Animated
- In Treasure Planet, Silver's pirates are trying to cut through a door in a fairly uninspiring way. Silver gets frustrated, turns his cyborg arm into a cannon, and simply blows it open.
Silver: Oh, you're taking all day about it! (Sets up cannon and blows the door open)
Films - Live-Action
- Used in Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) when the hotshot Smart Guy tries to pick a lock on a small power box. The Voiceless Big Guy steps in and abruptly snaps the door open with a knife.
- I, Robot: While Dr. Calvin is trying to hack into V.I.K.I., the control panel suddenly locks her out with a small sliding door. She barely gets a chance to fret over how to bypass this when a very tense Spooner comes right up and punches the door (with his robot arm!). The crumpled door surrenders.
Spooner: I'm uncomfortable...with heights.
- Iron Man: Pepper Potts is leading several S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to Stane's secret lab. Her key card doesn't work on his door, so the operatives place a device on the lock. Pepper starts asking if the device picks the lock mechanically or electronically before they tell her to stand back from the imminent explosion. She covers her ears expecting a loud bang... Aaand it turns out to be a thermite charge about as loud as a dropped textbook.
- The Princess Bride. Inigo has Rugen on the run, but the Count eludes him briefly by running into a room and locking the door behind him. Inigo, in a full panic that Rugen might get away, starts running and ramming himself against the door, trying to break it down, and screaming for Fezzik to help him out. Fezzik calmly walks up, stops Inigo from hitting the door, and punches it off its hinges with one fist. Then calmly turns and walks away as Inigo resumes the chase.
- In the 2009 Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Holmes is fiddling with a lock when Watson kicks it in. Later Irene Adler pulls open a door to again find a Holmes fiddling with his lockpicks on the other side.
- Sneakers: Played for Laughs: Bishop has lockpicks ready to open the mechanical lock to the office holding the MacGuffin. He comes up to it, and discovers the mechanical lock has been replaced with an electronic keypad. He radios the guys down in the truck and asks if anyone knows how to defeat a keypad. Crease picks up the mic and says, "Try this..." After a few seconds of listening to Crease's advice (which we don't hear) Bishop says he'll give it a shot. He then kicks down the door, and radios back, "It worked."
- In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, young John Connor tries to electronically hack a keycard lock with his laptop, to no avail. Then the T-800 steps up with a grenade launcher...
T-800: Here. Let me try mine.
Sarah Connor: John! Fire in the hole!
- In Red the protagonist points out that while a door to a CIA file room is protected by a state-of-the-art biometric lock, the surrounding wall was built by the lowest bidder. He simply kicks the wall and easily breaks through the shoddy drywall.
- In Superman: The Movie, Superman breaks into Lex Luthor's lair under Metropolis through the door.
Luthor: It's open, come on in. My attorney will be in touch with you about damage to the door. (turning) Otis, take the gentleman's cape.
Otis: I don't think he wants me to, Mr. Luthor.
- A very funny moment in the original version of The In-Laws comes when one of the Mooks chasing Sheldon comes across an emergency exit. After trying to open it, and failing, he yells for a couple of seconds, catches his breath, calmly says, "This is an emergency," and busts down the door.
- Subverted for laughs in The Naked Gun. Officer Nordberg tries to kick down a door, but instead he kicks a hole in the door and gets his foot stuck, which also tips off the criminals on the other side of the door.
- Masked Dog by Raymond Obstfeld. The title character, the result of a government experiment giving him perfect memory and superhuman strength, has escaped and decided to become the perfect assassin. He memorizes a book on lock-picking techniques, but finds that it requires more patience and skill than he has; so he just smashes down the door.
- There is a children's book about a band of thieves trying to break into a castle. The lead character, has trained for years and years by his master and is able to open any lock. After the first series of heavy doors, the group gets closer to the throne room, but the locks become more and more complicated. At one door, the character realizes he's faced with the lock his mentor had always warned him about: a hexagonal Devil Hole. He spends a good number of pages agonizing about his abilities until he realizes that the whole point of the Devil Hole is pure mindfuck: it's not a lock. It's just a hole. The door was open all along.
- When Hagrid comes to collect Harry Potter from the shack in the first book, he knocks the door completely off its hinges while knocking.
- On the other hand, this is less of him deliberately doing it and more of his The Big Guy nature and the door being shoddy.
- #38: The Arrival from the Animorphs series:
Jake: <Too bad there's no door. Rachel? Marco? Ax? Make a door.>
The three, being in highly powerful and destructive morphs at the time, proceed to bash the wall in.
- When Jake got a rhino morph, he became the official door-opener for much of the book. He'd often not even notice the door until he was in the process of smashing through it.
- David Eddings series The Elenium/The Tamuli:
- The queen is locked in a room. Mirtai, a warrior giantess, smashes through the heavy wood door easily. She comments that many old doors have wood rot after so long, making them fragile, subverting and discussing the trope.
- Later on, during Sephrenia's emotional meltdown, Kalten goes to her room to deliver a Cooldown Hug. She's locked the door, and refuses to open it, so Kalten invokes "Elene magic" (breaking it).
- In the Discworld City Watch books, Detritus, a huge troll whose weapon is a siege bow, is sometimes ordered to open doors. To quote Vimes "When he opens a door it stays open if you get what I mean."
- When temporarily deposed and consigned to the most secure cell in his own dungeons. Lord Vetinari - who in accordance with Evil Overlord Rule no.96, designed the cell himself - has ensured all the locks and bolts are on the inside where he can control them.
- The Lancre witches know how to open stubborn doors made out of unrelenting three-inch thick planks of old oak set in thick stone portals. Granny Weatherwax would prod the memory of the surrounding stone, encouraging it to get over the dungeon chill by recalling the old times when it was all hot and runny. Magrat Garlick encouraged the wood to remember a long-ago time when it was green and growing in the forest. Either way, they get in.
- Rincewind, consigned to a cell in XXXX, suddenly notices that while the lock is strong, the hinges aren't: they simply slot a metal loop on the door to a peg secured to the portal. A bit of patient lifting, and the door suddenly lifts off and out.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society has a curious variation. While the doorways leading to some of the secret, but not super-secret areas in the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened are not locked, they're actually designed in such a way that they're opened only by ramming or kicking, as the main protagonist Reynie Muldoon discovers when he grows so frustrated in trying to open one of them that he kicks it. The reason for this is that the Big Bad, Mr. Curtain, enjoys ramming through doors in his souped-up wheelchair. The super-secret areas, however, are protected by numeric keypads, and no amount of kicking will get you through them. This is something that Sticky Washington, another of the protagonists, discovers to his chagrin before the keypad is spotted.
- When Harley Q attempts to lock himself behind heavy doors in his command room in Quantum Dvil Saga Avatar Tuner, the Big Guy of the Embryon, Heat, simply kicks the door off it's hinges.
Live Action TV
- In the episode "Business Trip" of Workaholics the guys and Alice high on acid (except for Adam who got a bum tab and Ders who purposefully faked taking his) are looking for a potential client, heading to the wrong room (thanks to Blake). When they get there, Alice knocks on the door and says "housekeeping", and as soon as the door is unlocked, she kicks it open, yelling "Fresh towels!" Of course, its the wrong room, not that that stops Alice from scaring everyone in a drug-fueled rage.
- Doctor Who has done this a few times.
Mickey: Okay, no time to explain, we need to get inside the school. Do you have, like, I don't know, a lock picking device?K9: We are in a car.
- In "School Reunion":
The Doctor: Open up! It's me![Door opens]The Doctor: Door keyed to my voice pattern; just the sort of thing I'd do.
- In "Battlefield", an extremely literal version of this trope:
- Eight breaks down a heavy steel door to escape from a morgue shortly after regenerating. This terrifies the poor nightshift guy on the other side so badly he faints, even though the Doctor is almost trembling in his shroud and generally giving every indication of being nearly as scared of him as vice versa.
- Sapphire and Steel, episode 6:
Steel: It's locked.
[Lead thumps the door, which falls off its hinges.]
Lead: It isn't now.
- In Warehouse 13 Myka has no time to wait for Claudia to hack the lock again if they're going to rescue Pete, so she gives the computer lock a roundhouse kick.
- In Smallville, Clark breaks through high-sercuity doors by simply ripping them off.. a lot. Humourly subverted in the episode "Mortal", where Clark has been Brought Down to Normal, and therefore has to break into a lab and steal a chemical subtly, and points out he misses just speeding in a smashing open the safe. (Yeah, Clark breaks into high-security labs a lot. Don't worry, they're owned by the Luthors, so it's OK.)
- On Criminal Minds, this happens practically Once an Episode with Morgan. On a gag reel, they once unscrewed the door so that when Shemar Moore tried to kick it down, it merely fell.
- In recent episodes, Morgan hasn't kicked down a lot of doors because Moore broke his foot.
- In the Torchwood episode "Something Borrowed," Jack Harkness kicks a door open because he thinks there's a murderous alien shapeshifter behind it (which turns out to just be Rhys's mother, and the shapeshifter is elsewhere).
- Subverted on one episode of The O.C., when Seth Cohen attempts to break open a door in a badass way while talking on his cell phone... and fails miserably. It turns out he could have just opened it.
- In Kamen Rider Skyrider, Skyrider's "Rider Break" attack consisted of using his bike to smash through walls. He did it Once an Episode.
- Buffy's habit of breaking down doors is lampshaded on a couple of occasions, such as when she breaks into the Magic Shop only to be told by Riley that he's got a master key, or when Spike gripes at her habit of barging into his crypt whereas he needs an invitation. Spoofed in "Grave" when Xander is seen hammering ineffectually at the type of crypt door Buffy breaks down on a regular basis.
Giles: We're gonna to have to create a door.Anya: Create a door? You can do that?Giles: *pulling a chainsaw out of his bag* I can.
- Giles gets one too, in the episode Fear, Itself, when he and Anya are trying to rescue the Scoobies from a haunted house that has sealed itself shut:
- Angel did it once or twice as well, usually with demons since he needed an invitation for human homes, such as when he smashes open the door of Amoral Attorney Lilah Morgan.
Lilah: That's a very dramatic entrance...except for the part where you can't enter.
- On an episode of American Pickers, a man was just starting to get an old storage unit cleaned out.
"And, ah, I don't know where the key is, so we found this key." (holds up an electric saw and cuts through the lock)
- That '70s Show: Eric storms up to Donna's door and attempts to kick it in. He falls backward on his ass. Donna throws open the door and when she incredulously asks if he just kicked her door, he denies it, despite the damning evidence of his shoeprint on the door.
- A variation in The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon wants Penny to retrieve a USB drive from a box with a complex puzzle lock - and is giving her detailed instructions on how to open it. She chooses to just smash it open.
- Michael Weston of Burn Notice LOOOOVES this. Especially using the wall.
- Supernatural episode "Time after Time": Dean gets zapped back to 1944 and is working with Elliot Ness.
Dean: [looks into a house through a window] Looks empty. You got a key?
Ness: Sure. [kicks in the door]
- In "Monster Movie" the Winchesters find themselves up against a demon who's a fan of old monster movies. Sam goes to kick open the heavy double doors of a Mad Scientist Laboratory, only to have his foot go through what turns out to be a flimsy wooden mockup. A second kick takes it off its hinges.
- Happens regularly on Hawaii Five-0 with usually either Steve or Danny kicking in a door to get to a suspect or victim. This pretty much always works except for the one time it doesn't and then Steve just goes and gets a grenade from Danno's trunk. That works.
- Subverted in NCIS (which routinely plays it straight) in the episode "Parental Guidance Suggested", when DiNozzo asks Bishop to open a door. She makes two attempts at kicking it down before Dinozzo reminds her that We Have the Keys.
- Nearly everyone who played a tabletop dungeon crawl RPG has had this happen at some point.
Troper in party without a rogue: How are we going to open this door?
Rest of party: *points at the barbarian*
- And the magic users have the "Knock" spell, or its equivalent.
- The 3.0 and 3.5 versions of the Dungeon Master's Guide have a barbarian opening a chest as an example of how damage to objects works. The 3.0 version even calls it "the barbarian way".
- As a matter of fact, early editions of Dungeons & Dragons featured specific "Open Doors" and in the case of AD&D also "Bend Bars/Lift Gates" values derived from a character's strength attribute just to make clear what their exact chances of successfully enacting this exact trope were. Later editions simply boiled it down to a strength check.
- Munchkin lampshades it; "kicking down the door" is the official name for the action which begins each turn.
- Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright has something of a history of killing doors, to the point where even the judge admits it was pretty cool.
- In Super Mario RPG, Bowser bashes down the (locked) door to Booster's Tower after you join the Koopa Troop (i.e. his face-saving way of joining your party); later, in Marrymore, you have to time your entrance into the barred double-doors of the church in sync with Bowser's door smashing.
- In Tales of Eternia, there is a certain door that seems to be locked by some sort of puzzle. While the group wonders how they're going to solve it when the Smart Guy of the group is currently doing some other work somewhere else, Max just walks up and body-slams it open.
- Subverted in Army of Two: The 40th Day. The guys attempt this by ramming a bulldozer into a mall, but it just causes the entrance to collapse into an impassible wall of rubble.
- Inverted by Harry The Handsome Executive, who only opens doors by kicking them in—but if they're locked, he has to use the key first.
- In Nethack, this is allowed but carries some risk. Prying open a chest with a bladed weapon could break the weapon; bashing it with a blunt weapon could destroy the contents. Even kicking a door risks injuring your foot (and yes, it is entirely possible to die from kicking an overly-stubborn door down).
- Penumbra contains one locked door and several locked cabinets that are opened merely by smashing them, and another door that is opened by breaking the lock.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored allow for stealth and/or all out combat and both allow you to open doors normally...or use explosives.
- Dungeons of Dredmor: You can attempt to kick down doors rather than using keys on them (not a good idea to do, since most monsters can't open doors and being able to close, say, the entrance to a Monster Zoo is pretty vital to your survival). Occasionally, this will hurt you rather than the door.
- The Order of the Stick: THOG SMASH PUNY PRISON!
- In Nimona, while Ballister tries to explain his hacking through a high-security door with Techno Babble, Nimona just rams through it as a rhinoceros. Ballister is less than amused.
- In Clockwork Game, Maelzel busts down Schlumberger's door, because he thinks Schlumberger is too drunk to perform. He's wrong.
- Junpei uses "KEYLESS ENTER" in MegaTokyo.
- Tom Hardigan kicks down a door with apparent ease on this page of Blood and Smoke
- Vesper of Plume has a smaller-scale variation when she opens a chest with heavy lock on it with a solid kick.
- On The Secret Saturdays, Fiskerton is the family's designated locked-door opener or blank-wall smasher-downer, but the entire Saturday family except Zak seems capable of pulling off the same feat if required.
- In The World's Finest movie, Superman knocks down a door and then gives Batman a sarcastic "after you" gesture, to which Batman sardonically remarks, "You're learning."
- Popeye uses the exact line "Open, Sez' Me" in a cartoon inspired by the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Specifically, he orders his can of spinach to open, it it just up and opens for him so he can save the day.
- In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, in what is undoubtedly a Rorschach reference, The Question walks up to a security door with a card reader, examines it intently, then walks away. Moments later, he returns with a metal trash can and hurls it through the glass...WHILE HUMMING A BRITNEY SPEARS-LIKE POP SONG.
- The Flash has repeatedly done the "push every combination" method to open doors. Once Batman subverted it by telling Flash the combination after about ten seconds of rapid typing.
- Toph pulls one in the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender when she pulls a Shave And A Haircut and blasts the door out of the way on the 'two bits' with metalbending. Doubles as a C.M.O.A.
- In an episode of DuckTales, Magica de Spell magically turns the combination lock on her own safe, but it fails to open when she orders, "Open, says me!" She finally groans, "Oh, why do I bother?!" and smashes the safe with a sledgehammer she apparently just happened to have lying around.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Played with on the "Atlantis". Phineas attempts to decode the writing on the door leading to Atlantis, but Buford simply punches the door, causing it to open properly.
- In another episode, there was a door that'd only open if someone told how many jellybeans there were in a nearby jar. Buford ate them all and answered "zero". The door opened.
- "The Penguins of Madagascar": In "The penguin who loved me", Kowalski tries to pick the lock with a buckle, but Parker playtypus just kicks out the door
- Judging by the 1990's X-Men animated series, Wolverine really hates doors.
- The Amazing Mumbo in Teen Titans uses it as an incantation instead of the expected Open Sesame.
- Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants actually says this exact phrase in a recent episode.
- The Looney Tunes cartoon Ali Baba Bunny had Bugs and Daffy accidentally burrow under the door to Ali Baba's treasure cave. This enrages Hassan the guard, who can't get in himself because he can't remember the password. (Even though he's drawn as a Big Guy who could probably have just broken the door down had he tried.)
- In the "Ultimate Doom" three-parter of The Transformers, a small team of Autobots as well as the Witwickys are stuck on Cybertron. All seems lost as they are forced to retreat further into what looks like a dead end in a Decepticon complex. Fortunately, Pintsized Powerhouse Brawn is one of the Autobots present and, upon seeing the locked exit, he promptly declares that "he'll get the door" and barges right through it without so much as a moment of hesitation or any indication that it slowed him down in the slightest.
Human Scientist: It's a safe bet those doors are locked.Optimus Prime: Fortunately, I have a delicate lockpicking technique. (Blasts the door open with one shot)
- Optimus Prime himself got in on this in "Day of the Machines", along with a rare moment of Deadpan Snarker:
Truth In Television
- Averted in Real Life, sort of: on Mythbusters, Jamie was about to kick open a door when Adam picked it. In a previous episode, Grant had failed to open a similar door by shooting the lock.
- In another episode, they demonstrated that it is quite possible to break through a standard door by force, even against deadbolts. The only reason the hotel chain held fast in the show was that the build team had used a stronger set of screws than the standard; had they used the standard screws, Jamie likely would have broken through the door on the first try.
- This is the entire point of breaching charges - blowing in the door. May cross into There Was a Door when the team using the charges decides to use the wall instead of the door because the people inside will most likely have guns trained on the doors.
- On the inside of at least one automatic supermarket door is this warning: "If door does not open in an emergency, push it open." This is more to inform people that the door does swing, not just slide sideways as it does in normal function.