"And when they're boarding, they always say get on the plane, get
on the plane. I say fuck that, let Evel Knievel get
on the plane. I'm getting
in the plane!"
Just because the car's locked doesn't mean you can't go along for the ride. Just hop on top of the car, and hold on.
This is popular in many cop shows; our hero can be counted on to leap to the roof of a speeding getaway car at least once per season. Alternatively, he can jump onto the hood and glare at the driver while said driver tries to shake him off. Larger vehicles can also be used (particularly popular version is jumping onto a tall vehicle from an overhead bridge) - if it's a truck, for example, our Hero will often need to climb forward to the cab somehow. (You can also climb about on trains
, but they're a bit different, since they don't swerve about.)
by the MythBusters
, who found it much less safe in reality than on the screen.
For example, in Real Life
, it is incredibly difficult to hold onto a car even at low speeds, and at high speeds, it is impossible to do so. It may be slightly easier to hold onto a train, but all of your effort has to be spent in just
holding on and
you have to be on top of a car that isn't rounded or containing hot liquids - plus, tunnels can cut too close to the roof for a standing person to survive passing through one. Aircraft - at least when we're talking jets, spacecraft, or anything that is flying at a sufficiently high speed and altitude - are literally impossible to stand on the outside of and doing so is certain death.
Two variant forms have become outdated with modern car designs, but may be seen in older media. For a stealth Outside Ride, jump onto the back bumper and hold on tight. This is often a convenient way for the hero to get to the villain's hideout. A more obvious method would be to stand on the running board, though if the driver's not paying attention you might be able to crouch underneath the window before he sees you.
See also: Hood Hopping
, Traintop Battle
, Underside Ride
. Punk in the Trunk
(the second option) is a more modern version of riding on the back bumper, which isn't to say characters in older works can't do it. May precede a High Speed Hijacking
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Anime & Manga
- Sin City has a couple of examples:
- Marv hopped onto the back of a getaway car in Just Another Saturday Night and found himself on the hood of a cop car a few seconds later.
- In Family Values Miho rollerbladed after a car, hitched onto the bumper, then climbed into the trunk without the mobsters knowing it.
- Dwight attempted this in A Dame To Kill For, but failed.
- In the first Sin City tale, Marv subverted this by actually hurling himself through the windshield of a cop car as opposed to just hanging on.
- Spider-Man often does this, using his enhanced strength and reflexes to catch a ride and his clinging ability to hang on:
- Way back in Amazing Spider-Man #1, Spidey hopped onto the Chameleon's helicopter and ripped the door off in order to get to him.
- He pulled a similar move at the climax of the first Hobgoblin storyarc when he jumped onto the side of an armored van in order to get to the villain.
- In Venom's first miniseries, Spidey hopped onto the hood of a gang's car while it was moving and webbed up the windshield.
- This has also been used as a gag multiple times when he is running late or is out of web-fluid, so he decides to hop onto any moving vehicle he sees.
- In one case, as he's riding on the hood of a car he sees a NYPD patrol car next to him. He cracks a joke about what he's doing probably not being covered in the traffic laws. The officer smirks and we Gilligan Cut to Spidey holding a traffic ticket.
- When Spidey first joined The Avengers (as a reserve) back in the eighties, it involved him sticking to the bottom of their quinjet and following them to a mission.
- After the first arc of Joss Whedon's X-Men run, the newly alive-after-all Colossus is shown riding on the top of the team's jet on their way to a monster fight. After spending...uh, x number of years locked up in a lab, he wanted to feel the wind.
- After Scott Pilgrim gets his He's Back moment, he rides the bus this way back to Toronto.
- Captain America punctuates his escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. at the start of Civil War by leaping on top of a fighter jet and eventually buying the pilot a burger later on.
- In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Snake Eyes does this on the approach to the Eiffel Tower.
- In both Green Hornet movie serials, the Hornet catches a ride on the back bumper of a villain's car.
- Happens with the titular train in The Polar Express.
- Teen Wolf's favorite game was to surf the top of a bus.
- In Batman (1989), reporter Alexander Knox does this on the hood of Vicki Vale's car.
- In Dick Tracy (1990), Tracy's Sidekick "The Kid" hitches a ride on the back of police cars.
- The Matrix Reloaded. An upgraded Agent jumps onto the hood of a car from another car, and just stands there while the car swerves back and forth. There is also a full-scale kung fu battle on the top of a semi truck, brought to an abrupt end when it slams into another truck head-on.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant is seen hitching a ride on the back of the electric streetcar, along with some other poor, Oliver Twist-esque boys.
- In the first Back to the Future, Marty gets to school quickly by holding onto the rear bumpers of cars while standing on his skateboard. This turns out to be something of a Chekhov's Skill when he uses the same technique to keep from being run down by Biff in 1955.
- The Deathproof half of Grindhouse shows clearly that even trained stunt professionals have a hard time hanging on to the hood of a car when there's a maniac slamming his car into yours at high speed.
- James Bond runs into this a bit, as one might expect:
- At the end of Live and Let Die, Baron Samedhi is seen riding on the front end of a train locomotive after he was killed by poisonous snakes earlier in the movie. Bad Ass indeed.
- In Octopussy, Bond actually tries it with a plane, if that counts.
- In Licence to Kill, Bond takes a ride on a moving tanker truck.
- Spider-Man pulls it off in the first movie. Justified, since he "does whatever a spider can", being sticking to surfaces, like a car roof. A hold-over from the comic book; Spidey frequently hitched unwitting vehicles when traveling through places with low overhead or few to no skyscrapers.
- Help! – George Harrison jumps on the mad scientist's car as it's getting away with Ringo in the trunk.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Vampire Amilyn (Paul Reubens) hangs onto the top of Pike's van as he's fleeing and even punches a hole in the roof to grab him. Too bad about that low tree limb...
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy finds himself clambering all over a truck which he's trying to hijack, a process made difficult by the Nazi soldiers who are riding in the back. The Nazis then do it too.
- There's also the submarine incident of questionable plausibility, in which Indy somehow rides a submarine across the Mediterranean..
- Indy also clings to the front of a speeding mine cart in Temple of Doom, braking it with the sole of his boot.
- The Invisible Man has the eponymous character follow his target this way. Made easier by the fact that, well, he's invisible. Ignore the fact that he's also naked in the middle of winter hanging onto the side of a speeding car...
- Buster Keaton often grabbed onto moving cars in his films; see Cops, The Goat, Sherlock, Jr.
- Constantly in The Gods Must Be Crazy. In an early scene you can just about see one of the actors playing a rebel soldier go flying off the hood of the car because of it, he continues with the scene as it nothing happened. Not too surprising as it's set in Africa where riding on top of a car is not uncommon.
- Clint Eastwood as cop Harry Callahan does this a few times. In the first movie Dirty Harry, Harry jumps from an overpass onto the roof of a schoolbus taken hostage by the Scorpio Killer. In the sequel Magnum Force a mobster trying to escape a police raid speeds out in a getaway car and Harry clings to the hood of it.
- Done with an airplane in The Mummy, though it probably wasn't moving when they got on it; two people ride on the wings of a two-seater plane. If you look closely they are tied to it.
- Captain America: The First Avenger — What doesn't Cap take advantage of this trope? Taxicab, personal submarine, speeding train, drone aircraft ....
- Shows up a couple of times in The Avengers. Thor makes his entrance by landing on the team Quinjet so he can grab Loki from them and take him back to Asgard.
- The Toxic Avenger jumps on the roof of the bully's car. They attempt to swerve to shake him off.
- TRON: Legacy: Sam lands on the roof of a taxi cab. The driver yells at him to get off and swerves to try and get him down.
- When Mickey Cohen flees from the shootout at the climax of Gangster Squad, Sarge follows by jumping onto the back of the car and holding on. He is helped by the fact the rear window had been shot out earlier.
- The running board version is seen in Doc Savage, with Doc pointing dramatically as he stands on the running board (in the rain no less) as the Fabulous Five drive off to take on the villains who've killed Doc's father.
- Mad Max. Toecutter's gang steal fuel from a tanker-truck while it's on the move by waiting till it's slowed to drive up a steep road, pole-vaulting onto the tanker, then running a hose off the back.
- Subverted in Red. CIA agent William Cooper is trying to warn the Secret Service they've fallen for a Not My Driver trick while they're hell-bent on driving their charge away as quickly as possible. He leaps onto the roof in a suitably badass manner, slides down the back window with a silly expression on his face (as he's pressed against the glass), makes a futile attempt to get the Service agents to stop, then gets thrown off when the limo abruptly turns a corner.
- In Flying Down to Rio a bunch of Chorus Girls do an aerial dance/display while strapped to the wings of flying biplanes.
- YT in Snow Crash - she has a device that lets her attach to cars and catch a ride, and this is how she gets around.
- Doc Savage's favorite way to get around NYC is to let one of his buddies drive while he stands on the running board.
- The hero does this at one point in Slan and even gets a chance to read the villains' minds.
- Mike, at the beginning of Ghost, does this on the van that's being used to kidnap coeds.
- Spoofed in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (a Two-Fisted Tales-homage by Paul Malmont). Reality Ensues when Lester Dent (creator of Doc Savage) leaps onto a car's running board and demands to be driven to Chinatown. The car roars off causing Lester to be thrown off onto the street.
Live Action Television
- In Arrested Development the Bluths always get "hop-ons" when they drive their van because it was made to load airplanes and has a set of stairs on it.
- Doctor Who: Jack Harkness does this with the freaking TARDIS. While it's travelling through time. This temporarily kills him.
- In a season 3 episode of Primeval, Danny does this in an attempt to escape some hungry terror birds.
- Once per Episode in Der Clown: Hero jumps on the enemy's getaway car/truck on the highway from a helicopter. Even in the self-parodic time travel episode.
- Harrison ends up clinging to the windscreen of a car during a chase in one episode of Crazy Like a Fox. The scene is used in the Title Sequence.
- All the time on Knight Rider. Just try and count how often Michael tells KITT to take control and open the sunroof so he can climb out and jump onto the bad guy's car, truck, helicopter, airplane, what have you.
- One episode of How I Met Your Mother ends with Lily clinging to the roof of a moving car while under the effects of a highly caffeinated energy drink.
- TJ Hooker is notorious for the aggressive stunts Hooker pulls on duty like leaping onto vehicles.
- Air Crash Investigation: The captain of British Airways Flight 5390 goes through this when a blown-out windshield leads to him getting sucked out of the cockpit and pinned to the fuselage.
- Leverage: In "The Rundown Job", Parker clings to the top of a subway train so as not to lose the terrorist who is carrying a briefcase full of killer flu virus.
- In Dick Tracy, Tracy's dog Mugg (a boxer) would often along with Tracy by clinging to the roof of the patrol car.
- Led to one of the most memorable sequences in Dino Attack RPG. The heist on Dacta Corp.'s just gone horribly wrong, and the two survivors have to get away with the plans they were trying to steal... while the assassin who responsible for killing the others is right on top of their car. Cue intense chase as Montoya has to navigate a freeway while simultaneously trying to help his partner shake her off- They only got away because she believed them dead when the car veered off the road and caught fire, when in actuality they managed to escape when she left just before the blaze.
- Another train example would be the intro and ending of Mega Man 4.
- Some more train examples happen in Wario Land 2 and Wario Land: Shake.
- Doable in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
- Tony Hawk's Underground gives your skater the ability to skitch off car bumpers Marty McFly style.
- After the first boss battle in Final Fantasy VII, and the homage sequence in Crisis Core.
- It's easier to do by accident than on purpose in Saints Row 2, as most impacts, even minor bumps, send the target flying. But climbing on the roof of a stopped vehicle activates a car surfing minigame.
- Skitchin' was a Genesis game where you would hitch rides on the bumpers of cars while on your inline skates.
- Just Cause lets you do this; in its improved sequel, you can even hop around on top of a moving car, leaning around to avoid being shot at. You can also deploy your parachute to take to the air.
- Battlefield 1942 lets you do this ON AN AIRPLANE.
- In Syndicate (2012), this is done to a Cayman Global dropship by Kilo after Lily Drawl is kidnapped and loaded into it.
- In Bully, while riding a skateboard you can latch onto the bumpers of cars to get around town more easily.
- In Mass Effect 3, during the Cerberus coup, Kai Leng leaps onto and runs around on top of Shepard's skycar in order to get to a position where he can sabotage it.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic and Tails have a regularly used biplane called "The Tornado". Tails flies the thing from a regular seat. Sonic prefers to ride it by standing on the wings.
- Fox does this several times in Star Fox Assault, riding on the wing of another ship while shooting things with a powerful energy bazooka. Subverted in that the ship has to fly very slowly and carefully when he's riding it: if they were to perform the maneuvers they usually do, he'd fall off immediately. This carries over into the Super Smash Bros. arenas based on Star Fox games, where everyone runs and jumps on the wings as easily as on stationary surfaces.
- Other examples from Super Smash Bros.:
- The Simpsons: Hit & Run has a "surfing" animation when you're on the roof of a moving car.
- Bandit runner patrols in Borderlands have a driver, a gunner, and two Psychos hanging on the outside.
- In inFAMOUS, you can do this by hopping on a moving car, even though the creators didn't intend on you doing so.
- The Manta in Unreal Tournament 2004 can be used in this manner - let a pair of teammates hop onto the fans, and (at least until the physics wonk out enough to force them off) they can hitch a ride on the fastest vehicle in the game. Unreal Tournament III removed this ability, but also added hoverboards and grappling hooks to let vehicles drag you around partially because this was too useful an exploit to just get rid of outright.
- In The Transformers episode "A Plague of Insecticons" where the episode-namer Insecticons used lightning to down the Autobots, they found the lightning-based attacks are nulled with the rubber on the tires of their vehicle mode. Optimus Prime and Wheeljack (team's tech-head) both rode a pair of team mates in vehicle form whilst firing their weapons. It's probably simpler to coordinate this stunt when everyone involved is a robot.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman grabs onto the roof of a car rendered invisible by Applied Phlebotinum to prevent the driver (likewise) from kidnapping his (the driver's) estranged daughter. The whole thing comes crashing past through an alley, leading a witness (who only sees Batman zooming along about four feet off the ground) to remark, "I didn't know he could fly..."
- In one episode of Yogis Space Race, the prize for winning the race was a trip on a space plane. As usual for this show, there was a twist to the prize that made it not worth winning: In this case, the trip was on the space plane, rather than in the space plane.
- Once on The Flintstones, Fred and Barney had to take the cheapest seats available on a plane, which meant sitting on the wing.
- In the Mr. Magoo cartoon "When Magoo Flew", Magoo mistakes a plane for a movie theater. At one point he steps outside and walks along the wing, complaining that the air conditioner is on too high.
- In The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare", the family is moving to a new town to get away from Sideshow Bob. Unfortunately for them, Bob has used a harness to strap himself to the underside of their car. Unfortunately for Bob, on the way his head smacks against speedbumps, Homer pours overly hot coffee over the side of the car, and the family decides to drive through a cactus patch for fun.
- At least one 1920's bank robber favored involuntary Outside Rides — he would put a solid row of hostages on his getaway car's running boards until he got out of town.
- Unfortunately, teenagers + booze + cars can equal Truth in Television for this trope. It normally ends with a trip to the hospital (or morgue), since they never add in safety harnesses.
- Real Life: The remora, a fish that uses a suction cup on its head to hitch rides with sharks.
- In some towns and cities around the globe, some people (especially pre-teen boys) routinely used (or use) this kind of transport on tram buffers to avoid paying the fare. This is particularly common in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and South Africa, where the trains are the best way to get around both within cities and between them, but are often overcrowded.
- Firefighters used to do this, but stopped because it was too dangerous. Secret Service still do in an emergency. Note that those vehicles are probably designed to be ridden (especially old fire trucks).
- The extremely dangerous activity called "Subway Surfing" (or a variation thereof), where a person rides on the roof of a subway car, high-speed train etc. "just for fun". In Germany alone, 40 teenagers have so far been killed while train surfing.
- If vertical people-movers qualify as "vehicles" for this trope's purpose, "elevator surfing" is a similar (and similarly-dangerous) activity.
- Until the invention of air brakes in the 1860s (and as late as the 1920s), this was the job description of the "brake man" on trains, particularly on freight trains, having to hop from car to car to manually activate the hand brakes, between this and other safety measures that had yet to be invented, brakemen were essentially Red Shirts with a fatality rate between 1889-1891 of as high as 19.3 per thousand.
- When a cop in Hanoi, Vietnam tried to get a driver to stop, this happened.
- See the 'Making of' video of the example filed under Advertising.
- A British Airways pilot was sucked out of his plane and pinned to the fuselage after one of the windshield panels popped out. Remarkably, he survived and continued flying for eleven more years.
- In 2012 a Romanian gang tried to rob a moving truck at night by tailgating behind it, climbing onto the roof of their car, and opening the trucks rear doors. Video can be seen here.
- In 1895, a group of children were playing somewhere outside of Michigan City, Mississippi and had dashed across the tracks in front of an oncoming train some fifty-sixty yards down the railroad. All but one, a little girl who had suddenly froze up in fear of the train, made it across the tracks, but the little girl was very fortunate. An engine crewman by the name of John Luther "Casey" Jones was maintaining the engine aboard the train, and had spotted the girl. He risked serious injury, possibly even almost certain death, by shimmying out to the cowcatcher of the moving train to foist her up off of the rails to safety. The girl was shaken but unharmed, and the crewman, who was later promoted to engineer, would go on to lay down his own life around five years later by staying aboard to slow down his train to spare the passengers.
- The practice of tank desant, the tactic of soldiers riding on the hull of a friendly tank so they can disembark and provide it infantry support when it meets the enemy. This was most commonly used by Russian forces in World War II, but is uncommon these days due to increases in tank speed and most modern forces that can afford tanks can afford separate transports for their infantry to let them keep up.
- While the brief antics of skydivers exiting may not count, given that they're generally only there for a few seconds, it is possible to climb on top of some jump planes and ride them (note that airspeed on jumprun is significantly reduced to allow people to climb out). This is considered to be ridiculously dangerous for everyone involved, given the highly increased chances of a tailstrike killing the jumper and taking down the entire plane.