"Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees Give a home to the fleas, in my hair A home for fleas, a hive for the buzzing bees A nest for birds, there ain't no words For the beauty, splendor, the wonder of my hair Flow it! (Hair!) Show it! (Hair!) Long as God can grow, my hair!"
In Real Life, hair is heavy, especially when wet, and as anyone who has had long hair can attest, it takes forever to comb out, requires much more shampoo than usual, tangles at the slightest provocation, attacks everything in a strong wind, and is often getting caught in things and being in the way.
None of these seem to bother fictional characters. Instead, people (mostly women) will have hair down past their hips to dramatically blow around them and/or otherwise accentuate their femininity.
If their hair is used to cover up nudity and shut up the censors, it's Godiva Hair.
Historically, long hair has been a status symbol in many parts of the world. European nobles would do it up in elaborate headdresses and Japanese noble women in the Heian era would grow out their hair, sometimes for their entire lives, so it could literally become meters long, requiring special trains to be built into the clothing. As a result, long hair is considered a mark of high breeding, so many Ojous have long dark hair. Note that such people tend to also have servants who wash and comb their hair for them. There is even a theory that humans lost almost all their body hair while having the hair on the head grow much longer than in any other animal, exactly because of its function as a status symbol. Healthy long hair is an indicator of general good health and a lifestyle that allows taking good care of it. Both women and men with long hair would be regarded as the most prestigious and economically beneficial partners and since children of healthy and affluent parents would have the best chances to survive, evolution would naturally select for longer hair. It's basically the same thing as the bright feathers of tropical birds.
In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, long hair has become mostly exclusive to women, especially—and ironically—in the upper-class areas in which it used to occupy. Subcultures (such as hippies or metalheads) that do have the pedantry for long-haired males will very likely have females react by growing their hair even longer, often to the point of qualifying for this trope.
Note that usually hair falls out after growing for about seven years; meters-long hair requires more than not cutting it, but also having the correct genes for long (that is, fast-growing) hair.
See also Long-Haired Pretty Boy, Improbable Hairstyle, Compressed Hair for one way to conceal the hair of such length, and Hairy Hammerspace for when items are concealed in it.
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Anime and Manga
In Bleach, we have Grimmjow, who, in his released form not only turns into a cat, but has long blue hair that hangs down past his waist. A bit later, we also get Ichigo, who sports a mullet style with hair that hangs past HIS waist while he's a hollow, It's gets even longer when he uses Final Getsuga Tensho, and Aizen's mullet with hair nearly touching the backs of his knees after his body has finshed absorbing the Hogyuku. Rapunzel indeed.
Gourry, Sylphiel, Naga, and Millina of Slayers, as well as Filia from the anime (in her human form.). Sylphiel's is of the Hime Cut variety, while Millina keeps hers in a ponytail. Gourry is an odd case because he's the hard-hitting swordsman who can't cast magic, so it would seem impractical to have all of that blonde hair flowing out while sword fighting...
Kazuki in Get Backers varies. Sometimes it looks floor-length, especially in the anime, but the manga artist usually draws it as roughly hip-length, unless it needs to flutter dramatically. The anime version also draws it to be very thick, with a ponytail about the same circumference as his neck. Sakura, Hevn, Kaoru Haruki, and, in some shots, Madoka all have waist-length hair.
Yue in Cardcaptor Sakura, whose hair, even braided, trails a good 2 feet behind him on the floor.
Yuuko in ×××HOLiC doesn't have hair at quite the same level (it ends at about her knees), but it's close. Yuuko's assistant Maru fits the trope even better, her hair trailing along the floor even while up in pigtails, and Kohane's hair is about as long as Yuuko's, but being a child, she's half Watanuki's height, making it this.
Not to mention Kurogane's Mother, Princess Emeraude, Sakura's mum and most of the people in RG Veda.
Also Chii from Chobits. Not sure if being an artificial life-form would make her hair more or less easy to manage, but in any case, it goes almost down to her feet.
Depends on how the hair's made. The cheaper synthetics are effectively uncombable, as they tend to stretch and pull apart instead of untangling. The alternatives are pretty expensive. The "ideal" sci-fi solution would be to create artificial follicles capable of individually running a weak charge through their hairs, which might allow for a sort of auto-combing effect.
Sakaki's hair in Azumanga Daioh is so long that it can actually be seen between her legs when she's simply standing. She also appears to sit on it on a few occasions.
Yomi's hair is hip-length, but curiously only in the anime. In the manga, it varies between chest length and waist length.
The good Galaxia's hair in Sailor Moon goes one step further and actually changes color from orange to red as it goes down past her shoulders. Some of Takeuchi's sketches show it literally going down to her feet, never mind how she manages to do it up in the odango-styleVillainous Hairdo... Actually, there are tons of examples in Sailor Moon.
In the manga, pretty much everyone whose hair is not expressly cut short or tied up have this hair by the end. There's even a scene at the end of the first arc, after Endymion has been captured by the Big Baddu jour, when the Inner Senshi arrive at Usagi's house. She hasn't come out of her room in days, and the reason why is because her hair has suddenly grown to twice its previous length, even though she's been cutting it. (Her hair is now matching the hair she wore in her past lifetime as Princess Serenity.)
Hell, even Makoto's hair is pretty long (by normal standards), considering in most artwork it reaches her waist while in a high ponytail, and is curly/wavy besides...
Particularly noteworthy is Mistress 9, whose hair grows so long she can tie her enemies up with it. While it's still attached to her head. Without impeding her mobility. It FILLS THE ENTIRE ROOM. In fact we can't even see the ends of it.
And also, Haruhi herself when she is Jerkass self who hasn't met Kyon yet (in the beginning and in Disappearance.)
From the Lucky Star anime, Konata's hair appears to be of variable length: sometimes it seems like it's about knee-length, and sometimes ankle-length. In fact, other than Ayano's waist-length hair, all the other "long-haired" characters (Kagami, Miyuki, Hiyori) have hair down past their hips, though this may just be a consequence of the Puni Plush art style. Although Konata's hair is as long in the manga, Kagami's hair is chest-length and Miyuki's is waist-length.
In the second Ranma ˝ movie, girl-type Ranma has ridiculously long hair when she gets all dolled up as a concubine. There was also an episode of the series in which male Ranma's hair grows uncontrollably because he ate a dragon's whisker at one point.
On the other hand, Shampoo has waist-length hair that doubles as Godiva Hair when she undresses to show her cat curse to Ranma.
Cologne's hair is longer than she is tall (not that hard, but still impressive).
The Faeries in the manhwaFaeries Landing have very long hair, and, at one point, the main heroine Fanta sacrifices a few inches of it to help her love interest, commenting that she's a bit sad to get rid of it because it was from the time she spent with her human father.
The movie deliberately pulls a Lampshade Hanging with Juri. While fencing, she wears a face-concealing mask that covers her entire head. Upon removing this mask, an enormous mass of curly, radiant hair cascades out, with volume that was several times larger than Juri's entire head.
Kazusa from Kamichama Karin has hair that goes to her ankles. When she transforms, the whole thing gets put up in a single, huge bun on the back of her head.
When we first see Miata in Claymore she is sitting in a pile of her own hair that appears to go down at least past her ankles, and while it appears to be cut at some point to fall to about her knees it still stays long enough to give her a very Wild Child-like appearance.
Later Agatha, a monstrous enemy monster, takes this to the extreme and combines this with Prehensile Hair.
Come to think of it, Yagi-sensei loves this trope, and also gives Riful this in her Awakened form with long hair that brings to mind Naughty Tentacles.
Daisy and Violet from Pokémon make their living swimming and have hair past their waists. It would seem their ability/willingness to keep it in any kind of style at all is a sign of their girlish personalities. Their less girlish sister Misty demonstrably has this in some episodes, too, although nobody's quite sure how.
Then there is Jessie with her giant... horn thing, which goes down to her waist and never moves. Presumably all the hair gel needed to hold it in place makes her hair even heavier.
She finally lets it down in "Shield with a Twist", after 568 episodes. Wow.◊
There's also Cynthia with hair that goes past her knees. When she's sat down the last foot of her hair is beside or behind her on whatever she's sat on.
Iris goes Up to Eleven by sporting what can be adequately described as a violet Wailord fin on her head. It's big enough to fit her Axew inside!
In Pokémon Special, Yellow's hair goes past her waist, and that's with it tied up in a high ponytail.
White's hair also goes past her waist with her humongous ponytail down.
Another male example: Clari of Violinist of Hameln has glossy blond hair of incredible fullness and volume...and it reaches his ankles. To make this even more ridiculous, he participates in massive melee battles with it down.
In Kamichu!, Yurie's hair grows longer than her height when she is exercising her most powerful divine powers, so it can become subject to a lot of Dramatic Wind. It becomes short again when she returns to normal.
And another male example: Dragon Saint Shiryu from Saint Seiya. Although plenty of Saints and other warriors have waist-length hair, Shiryu's flows down to his knees. The girls generally have short-ish hair that rarely goes lower than armpit level, but Saori and Pandora have much longer hair; so does Shunrei, but she keeps hers in a long braid.
InuYasha: In the manga, Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha have flowing waist-length hair. In the anime, however, Sesshoumaru's hair is often drawn knee-length or even longer. Sesshoumaru also has a ruff of shoulder fur that is so long it wraps around his left shoulder, flows down his back and trails across the ground behind him like an excessively long tail. When he transforms into a dog, it correlates a neck ruff of extra-long fur that forms a diagonal line across his left shoulder to his back.
Kikyou's hair reaches her hips when it's let down. In fact many female (and male) characters have long hair, it being the Feudal Era and all.
Code Geass has plenty of this, including V.V., a cute boy with hair that nearly touches the floor when he's standing.
A similar example would be Mashiro Rima from Shugo Chara!. Her hair nearly touches the ground when she stands. Quite fittingly, she prefers to walk slowly, even when hunting X-Eggs, where she often just stands in one place while her juggling sticks do the rest. Meanwhile, there's also Nagihiko, but that's a whole other trope entirely.
Shana, Margery, and Yuji Sakai (as Snake of the Festival) of Shakugan no Shana fall under this trope.
Hamona from Wolf's Rain would fit this trope. As would her older sister, Jaguara. In Hamona's case, it also doubles as a strange case of Godiva Hair.
Izusu Sohma also, until Akito hacks it off.Justified as Natsuki Takeya originally wanted Isuzu to have short hair. However, being the horse of the Chinese Zodiac, it made more sense for her hair to be long and flowing like a horse's.
Motoko Minagawa from the Prince Yuki Fan Club has long waist-length hair too.
Aion, Chrono, Mary, Rizelle, Satella and Florette/Fiore in flashbacks in Chrono Crusade. (Chrono's hair has part of it cut short in the back, but he still has enough long hair to have a braid that goes down past his knees.) With that many characters, you could probably argue that Daisuke Moriyama has a thing for flowing, dramatic hair.
Leon Oswald of Kaleido Star has waist-length grey-platinum hair, which (improbably) he never seems to restrain, even when performing on trapeze.
Ahiru/Duck in Princess Tutu has rather long hair in her girl form—even braided, it hangs down far past her waist. In her Magical Girl form, however, it seems to be tied up or magically cut short.
The Dark Magical Girl in Prétear has long, flowing black hair. This seems to be magically induced, since her true form, Takako, has hair in a more manageable length. One of Himeno's step-sisters also has long, flowing pink hair, and Hayate's hair reaches his waist.
Mahou Sensei Negima! has a number of characters with waist-length or longer hair. The more eastern-stylized characters often have Hime Cuts, while more western characters fit this. An odd example is Kaede, who reveals hair that reaches long enough to trail on the ground when Chao removes her hair band.
Squalo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, who swore that he would never cut his hair until Xanxus becomes the next Vongola boss. Seeing as how that's extremely unlikely he is seen ten years in the future with even longer and lustrous hair.
Abel Nightroad, Hugue de Watteau and Isaak von Kampher from Trinity Blood certainly fit this trope! Whilst Abel and Hugue at least attempt to restrain their lovely locks, Isaak just lets his easily floor-length (and he's tall, so that's a lot of hair!) barnet wreak havoc on humanity. Or vampiremanity.
Krad from D.N.Angel, anyone? His blonde ponytail is easily longer than he is-this is noticeable when he flies and his hair has to catch up with him. It's also very, very pretty...
Naruto's not known for its gorgeous hair, but Jiraya's colossal white ponytail, Tsunade and her surprisingly long pigtails, Ino and Inoichi Yamanaka's identical blonde topknots, and Neji's ponytail deserve a mention (which was so long it was used as a medium to channel medical ninjutsu through) in this section.
The undisputed queen of this in Naruto however is the Fifth Mizukage. She has hair down to her ankles... even when it's in a top knot!
And Kushina, Naruto's mother, has red hair that goes down to her ankles. In fact she was once able to make a trail when she had her hands tied by draping her hair over her tied hands and nonchalantly pulling some of it off to leave on the ground.
Mifune's hair is close to waist-length and spread out to a magnificent mane from shifting around in one panel.
Kakuzu also has this, his hair reaching at least to his waist when his mask was removed.
Kanu in Ikki Tousen has hair that goes down to about her calves, as a reference to Guan Yu, who was famed for his long beard.
The other Three Kingdoms gender flip Koihime†Musou does the same thing for the same reason.
Most female characters in Shattered Angels have hair that flows lower than their backside.
Yuty, Lechty, Prome O, Dhianeila, and quite a number of the female cast in Heroic Age.
Almost everyone in Saiunkoku Monogatari. Especially the men. The only exceptions are the cute boy and his Love Interest, and they're well on their way, as he usually ties his up in a pony tail and, though we never see it down, hers is long enough to pin up elaborately.
Male example: Ray Kon from Beyblade, especially noticeable when the white cloth keeping it together is torn off.
A deconstruction, in Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge. Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the "hair queen" had her hair cursed. It cannot be cut by any means. That leads her to quit schooling, and well, the inconveniences of having hair that long. Fortunately, Kiri's scissor is a cursed "Killing Goods" and cut Iwai's hair really short at the end of the first chapter, but her hair grows back to its original length in a span of a night.
Archbishop Laura Stuart's hair in To Aru Majutsu no Index extends down her back all the way to her ankles... and then it loops back up to the top of her head again. And then it goes through a hairpin and goes down to her waist again. Her hair is about 14-feet long.
Most of the characters in Tenchi Muyo! have long hair. A large majority of them being Juraians (and royal ones at that), it's more or less a custom to have long hair and to be either tied back or put up in ponytails. It's even more telling when Washu, Ayeka and Sasami must put their hair up just to go into the hot springs or even sleep. The goddess Tsunami has the longest hair, since it reaches the floor and goes on a few feet.
Gundam Wing has Dorothy Catalonia and Duo Maxwell tied for longest hair (at below-the-butt length), but Dorothy's is more noticeable because Duo always has his braided. Relena and Zechs deserve special mention, their hair reaching the small of their backs; in their case it seems to run in the family, since the few images we see of King Peacecraft show him with hair just as long as his children.
Princess Marina Ismail in Gundam 00, although the animators can't decide if it's butt-length or much longer.
Akuram, the Big Bad from Harukanaru Toki No Naka De, normally has hair held up by his Mask of Power, but once the mask is removed, his hair goes well past his waist, and in the anime, past his his knees. When a live-action stage play based on the franchise included the character... let's just say comparisons to Cousin Itt were made by Western fandom.
There's also Fuji-hime with floor-length hair, but this is justified by the series' (pseudo-)historical setting. A couple of female background characters also fit this trope for the same reason.
Koinzell from Ubel Blatt has his in two long braids down past his thighs, with knives at the ends. Occasionally he uses the knives when he can't find a sword or can't use his blood blades.
In the ending of Eureka Seven movie, Eureka's hair mysteriously grown very long, up to her hips. Its the longest version of her hair that was seen compared to the TV episode 30 flashback version of herself.
Yoko from Gurren Lagann has pretty long hair, and in The Movie she takes off the hairpins to pull a gun out of her hair. Nia post-timeskip also qualifies.
Several girls of Hayate the Combat Butler have extremely long hair, to where the standard length seems to reach their knees, and most of those that have shorter hair are depicted as more childish. Given that most of them are Ojous, it's explainable, but Hinagiku is depicted as having her long hair even while her parents are dealing with a large debt, and it's her hair which gets commented on.
Yuusuke from YuYu Hakusho grows very wild, knee-length hair when his demonic heritage is activated and he transforms into his Toushin form. Kurama's waist-length hair is a milder example, but he's able to wield his Rose Whip with it.
Macross Frontier's Alto actually has this - there's a scene where he let's it down and it's waist length.
Chitoge in Nisekoi may not be quite as extreme as some other examples here, but her slightly-longer-than-waist-length hair does stand out against the undoubtedly more realistic take on hair this series uses. Not to mention that it's also very wide, forming roughly a pear-shaped silhouette when viewed from the front.
If it weren't for Rapunzel, the characters in A Distant Soil would be the Trope Namer. Apparently, it's an Ovanian custom to have ungodly long hair, sometimes floor-length.
Winnowill from Elfquest has a mane of ultrafine ebony hair that exceeds ankle-length by several feet and trails after her on the floor (she typically carries it draped elegantly over one arm, to make it easier to manage), as does the minor character Newstar after a point. Clearbrook's braid, at its full length, extends to her knees by Shards. And Timmain's hair also doubles as Godiva Hair on several occasions. In all these cases the extreme length is made much more plausible by the character's very long lifespans—Winnowill is thousands of years old; plenty of time to grow her hair any length she likes.
Starfire of the Teen Titans comic book. To put it mildly. It's frequently portrayed as not so much ending, extending past the panel border and/or merging into a sort of rocket exhaust when she flies. It's shorter in the TV cartoon.
Jean Grey had hair like this in the late eighties and the nineties, but once those Running the Asylum came in, her hair grew short again.
Storm had ridiculously long hair for someone living in the African wilderness and constantly standing in the wind/being rained upon. In the Joe Madureira era, she had a large mop of hair on her head which reached the floor, but wasn't straight (and mostly Godiva Hair like in the '80s) but a large mop which looked like it had a life of its own and...quite heavy. She killed Marrow nonetheless.
Rogue also had very long hair in the mid-nineties and the eighties.
Artemis, from Wonder Woman, had (has?) a more than floor-length ponytail. It was always blown around so as to never touch the ground, whether or not anything else in the scene showed the effects of wind.
Rapunzel when she appeared in Fables. Because she was cursed, she couldn't stay in place around the mundies for too long and had a rather modern twist to her curse...her hair was cut several times a day, then donated to a wig factory; and the people there thought she was a colony of Amish girls.
It proved to be quite an interesting case of Blessed with Suck. Rapunzel makes quite a lot of money selling her hair, she makes three sets of hair several feet in length a day that are completely undamaged from wear and tear or cosmetics. Unfortunately she can barely enjoy her fortune since she's not allowed to be in the normal world for more than three hours at a time and cannot stay in the same place for more than an hour.
Malekith the Accursed, from Thor. Towheadeddark elf who looks like the In-Betweener in drag. Has more yards of hair than most women in Marveldom with the possible exception of Medusa. One has to wonder how many times he's gotten stuck on a tree or a telephone pole while flying and why he even bothers with pouches when his bouffant could easily double as a bag of holding.
Medusa of The Inhumans has extremely long prehensile hair that she can use as a weapon.
The Trope Namer and (il)logical extreme of this trope is Rapunzel, the Fairy Tale heroine whose hair was the ladder in and out of her prison tower; both the witch who imprisoned and the prince used this.
Older Than Steam: Other fairy tales that include this hair ladder (which is older than Rapunzel) include Snow White Fire Red and The Fair Angiola. This type of tale is known as "Maiden in the Tower" and the earliest known version is Petrosinella, recorded in 1634. Rapunzel Hair is not found outside it in fairy tales, and isn't always found in it. Somehow "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your knotted hemp rope" doesn't have the same ring.
During the Buffy series, Dawn usually had waist-length hair. In the Buffy/Stargate crossover fic All Your Base Are Belong To Her, she's been letting it grow out for most of two years, and it's now well past her hips. It's striking enough that it's the first thing Jack notices about her, and Daniel also notes it as he's assembling an mental profile of the mysterious girl who's just appeared in the Gateroom.
The Grand Elder from the Homestuck fic Cultstuck has hair down to his feet, and he's extremely tall.
Rapunzel from Tangled has 70 feet of hair! It's to be expected, since she's, you know, Rapunzel.
"And then I'll brush and brush, and brush and brush my hair."
This is also one of the cases where it's justified; her hair has magic healing powers which stop working when the lock is cut, so she had to grow it out. Also, averted in the end when she gets a pixie cut.
The Big Bad of the first Crow movie had long black hair (worn loose), which is basically Anime Hair in real life.
Princess Leia, when she finally lets her hair down in Return of the Jedi. For many viewers, this resulted in a Fridge Logic moment when we contemplated how she got all that hair into those hairstyles we'd seen in the previous movies. There's a webpage discussing that her hairstyles would be impossible with that length of hair anyway. Possibly justified in that ROTJ is the last movie, and only there do we see it down, so it's probable that her hair was much shorter in the previous two movies and was growing during that time.
Olivia Hussey in the 1966 Romeo and Juliet had waist-length hair. It reportedly inspired a huge number of young women to grow their hair out that long.
In Brave, Merida's hair, curly, reaches just about to her waist. Considering how curly her hair is, its true length is probably considerably longer. Her mother is a more classic example, as her straight hair, wrapped, reaches to her knees, and when unwrapped is six and a half feet long — that is to say, longer than she is tall!
Fierce gothy-girl Isa, from Only Echoes Remain has a magnificent mane of glossy black hair, which, thanks to her magical nature, is extremely 'shiny and swirly'—to the point where the smallest breeze sometimes makes her grumble about feeling like a living commercial for expensive hair products.
In some parts of the world in the Sword of Truth series, the length and style of a woman's hair is directly related to their status, so the Mother Confessor, the de facto leader and most powerful woman of this region, has very long hair. It's stated to be somewhere slightly above her hips and below the small of her back, and she cannot cut her own hair. It magically gives her great pain, as it does all Confessors.
An implied literary example is found in the dramatic poem The Highwayman, when Bess, the landlord's daughter, stands at the casement window, leaning over, and her lover stands up on his horse, she lets her hair out and it hits him in the face. (It's a lot more romantic than that, I assure you.)
He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand, But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast; And he kissed its waves in the moonlight, (O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!) Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion had Lúthien magically grow her hair long, in order to use it to escape her elvish father — he had grounded her in a treehouse (there's a pun in there somewhere...) to stop her from following her mortal lover, whom he had sent away to get rid of him. She makes a rope for escaping the treehouse, and a cloak which induces sleep in anyone else it touched. Of course, this leaves her nearly bald until it grows back.
In the later Anne of Green Gables books, Anne's friend and neighbor Leslie has blonde hair down to her feet, which she keeps pinned up except when she's just washed it.
Lampshaded by Rapunzel in the Piers Anthony Xanth novels who is, of course, based on the fairy tale of the same name. Her magic talent is her ability to grow her hair to exceedingly long lengths, never feel the weight of it, and have it take up no more volume on the top of her head when wrapped up than she wants it to.
In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel "Lungbarrow", the Doctor's cousin Innocet has resolved not to cut her hair until she sees daylight again. This results in her having to walk about with 673 years' worth of hair in a colossal plait.
In Lois McMaster Bujold's Cetaganda, all the Haut Ladies of the Star Creche have extremely long hair. Towards the end of the book, one of them has been restrained by the simple expedient of tying her hair in place. Miles (who has come to rescue her, amongst other things) suggests cutting it and she reacts with horror. He winds up distracting her and cutting it anyway. She is NOT pleased with him.
Possibly hinted in Twilight. Bella listens to a Quileute legend about a pair of vampires. The shapeshifters killed the male, so his mate (described as having knee-length golden hair) comes and attacks the village.
In Jane Yolen's Great Alta Saga, Jenna and her shadow-sister Skada have braids that go down past their waist. While it's pointed out that this is impractical for warriors, it turns out to be helpful when they strangle the Big Bad with them.
In E. Nesbit's comedic fairy-tale story "Melisande", Princess Melisande is cursed at birth to be bald. When she grows up she is given a magical wish, and at the prompting of her mother requests long, lovely, fast-growing hair. The result is the Rapunzel Hair from hell.
Whenever he cut the hair of his head — he used to cut his hair from time to time when it became too heavy for him — he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels (five pounds) by the royal standard. — 2 Samuel 14:26
As for Buttercup in The Princess Bride, her hair length is never specified, but at eighteen the narration mentions it's never been cut. For most people, that would be butt-length or thigh length. Long enough to sit on.
Miss Hardbroom in The Worst Witch series keeps her hair tied up in a really tight bun 24/7 except for the Halloween celebrations, where the girls are amazed that it goes right down to her waist. Mildred remarks that she doesn't look half as frightening when her hair is down.
In Alexandre Dumas' The Woman With The Velvet Necklace, Arsene is described as a tall woman, and her hair doesn't just fall past her hips, it apparently trails on the ground behind her.
Susannah, the protagonist of Repeat It Today With Tears by Anne Peile, has this in the first half of the story. It's never described how long her hair is, but after she chops it all off after being committed to a mental institution, it takes five paper bags to dispose of all the hair.
Queen Susan of Narnia is described as having black hair down to her feet.
In The 10th Kingdom, Virginia is briefly cursed with very-fast-growing hair, that requires both other characters to help her carry it and almost smothers her overnight. Of course, it's a reference to Rapunzel, and, yes, the hair eventually does get used as a rope. Eventually Wolf takes a magic axe to it, leaving her with a very short hairstyle.
Piper in Charmed grew her hair to waist length in the second season and kept it pretty much that same length for the rest of the series.
Phoebe gains Rapunzel Hair in the season 5 finale where the sisters are transformed into the Greek Goddesses. Phoebe is given Aphrodite's long golden tresses. Paige also gets waist-length hair when she is temporarily transformed into a wood nymph
The season 1 finale of Sabrina the Teenage Witch had Sabrina trapped in a tower by a troll so she cast a spell on her hair to make it long enough for Harvey to climb up.
Hilda also ate "hair soup" in another episode that gave her waist-length tresses as well as a full beard.
Roxie's hair also grew to past her waist by the show's seventh season.
Shelly Du Vall naturally adopted the traditional long golden hair when she played Rapunzel in an episode of Faerie Tale Theatre. Even after Rapunzel's Traumatic Haircut the hair was still down to the floor.
A BBC TV series that modernised fairy tales had Charity Wakefield as a tennis player named Rapunzel, named so because her hair went down to her thighs (she had her own shampoo line from this, which is why her mother kept it long). She hung it out the window and it even reached down to a balcony below.
True to her book counterpart in The Worst Witch Kate Duchene sported the waist length hair as Miss Hardbroom though Mildred Hubble was shown to have hair the same length when she let it loose.
Amy Barnes in Hollyoaks, has since had her hair cut short as part of a domestic abuse storyline.
The mother (Diana) in Party of Five is stated to have had incredibly long hair all down her back and her husband wouldn't allow her to cut it short.
Quite a few Super Sentai heroines have had waist-length hair, as well as at least one male character (Makito in Mahou Sentai Magiranger.) Eri from Tensou Sentai Goseiger has hair almost long enough to sit on, and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger's Joe begins the series with a ponytail halfway down his back that eventually grows out past his waist (it was attached to the actor's real hair, which grew out considerably over the course of a year.)
On the Power Rangers side of things, Tommy Oliver's hair had reached this point by the end of Power Rangers Zeo. It was therefore rather surprising to see him with his hair cropped short in "ForeverRed".
Played for laughs in The Muppet Show. A group of Whatnots sing "Aquarius" from Hair while their hair rapidly grows throughout the 1-minute song to the point where they can't see or move properly.
Also spoofed in The Goodies when Graham goes to rescue Rapunzel from her tower by climbing her hair, only when he puts his weight on it he yanks her out of the tower.
For years, singer Crystal Gayle's hair was long enough to trail behind her until she cut it to ease the strain on her neck caused by wearing it that way.
Similarly Yoshiki Hayashi, the leader of Visual Kei band X Japan cut his waist long hair to the despair of his female fans, because it took him hours to wash and care for it every day, and because it was making his neck pain worse.
Herman Li◊, guitarist in DragonForce, has hair down to his knees. His headbangs are pretty wicked.
And their former lead singer, ZP Theart, has waist-length hair. There's a reason why two of the band's three music videos feature wind machines.
Brian Fair, lead singer of Shadows Fall, also has hair down to his knees... in dreadlocks. Very impressive when windmilling.
Key Kool◊ (front/center) of Visionaries has nearly waist-length hair; it's not very noticeable since he usually wears in a knot at the base of his head. After his hair stylist marveled at his "virgin hair" (no bleaching, dying, or perming, just a huge amount of gel every day) he cut it off to donate to charity. It's since grown back (and, yes, he did dress as a Chinese person one Halloween).
Peter "Aconite" from Novus has hair down to his waist.
Vocaloid features Miku Hatsune and her floor-length green pigtails. She's not the only one though—there's also Luka, Haku, Neru, Miki, Lily, and Gakupo.
Also Iroha (she has a bob and a really long ponytail). And from the new batch, we get IA and Ring, with Rion as a much less extreme example.
Exo-Chika from Visual Kei/Electronica duo Aural Vampire has hair that goes past her butt.
Religion and Mythology
Oddly enough, this trope is found in the communion of Christian Saints: Saint Mary Magdalene is traditionally depicted as having very long hair, at least long enough to serve as Godiva Hair. It arises from the (entirely apocryphal) idea that she used her hair to wash Jesus' feet this one time (as well as doubling as a sign of her sensuous, extravagant, and again apocryphal life pre-Jesus.)
A possible taboo for the Wu Jen class in Dungeons & Dragons is "Cannot cut hair". Of course, you know this would be the obvious result.
Also from Dungeons & Dragons, a Braid Blade (as it sounds, a short blade tied to the end of a person's braid), introduced in Dungeon Magazine #120, would logically require hair of this length to make effective.
In the Forgotten Realms setting, Eilistraee, the goddess of the good-aligned drow, is represented with very long hair.
The Warhammer 40,000 Dark Eldar gladiator queen Lelith Hesperax has hair long enough to use as an entangling net (naturally it is woven with poisoned barbs too) but then she is also skilled enough with a simple metal blade to not need a power weapon to bypass armour, and fast enough on her feet to dodge bullets even without combat drugs, even with all that hair.
Melisande, in Maurice Maeterlinck's play "Pelleas and Melisande", has hair so long that, when she leans out from the window of a tower, her hair almost reach the bottom.
Another male example: Zero in both Mega Man X and Zero. By default, so's Omega Zero.
Zero's co-star Ciel isn't so far off, either. And the official art depicts her hair as even longer.
Two more male examples: Giro and Vent, the latter effective in Advent. Vent in ZX and Aile in both games is a case of Compressed Hair when using Model ZX.
The female versions of the Psychopomp, Seeker, Spear Master, Ravener and Gunner bloodlines in Bloodline Champions have this.
Millia Rage from Guilty Gear combines this with Prehensile Hair, and turns both Up to Eleven. The victory pose where she lets it down and about a third of it drags on the ground around her seems impressive, but you slowly realize it can somehow grow a lot longer than that when you see the ends of her hair tunnel into the ground, then come up and stab someone five feet away.
Aerith and Tifa, though the latter shortens it a little later on for the movie. In the game, both of them have hair of the same kind of length as Sephiroth, but keep it tied so that it doesn't flow all over the place.
In Final Fantasy IX Princess Garnet has hair that reaches her butt until she cuts it, it also has very rapid growth as it grows back to that full length in presumably half a year (though this could be attributed to the devs not bothering to make yet another model for the ending scenes and her hair growning back would be a good indicator that time had passed).
FFX again, Lulu's hair is waist length, but tied up high and in braids. Presumably, her hair must be longer once its let down.
Averted in Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2. All of the possible unmodded female hairstyles in the first game were shoulder-length at most; in the second the longest female hair comes down to the middle of the character's back.
Quite a few Disgaea characters have hair that reaches at least down to their hips, including Flonne, Lamington, Yukimaru, Fukubi, Sapphire, Asuka, and Salvatore. This is only counting plot characters, mind you - if we were counting generic units or bonus Nippon Ichi characters, we'd be here all week.
pop'n music has Ophelia (no relation to that trope), who has black, feet-length hair that she ties into a long ponytail. Her full-gauge win and lose animations consist of her hair untying itself to show just how much of it she has. Appropriately enough, the song that she's the character for is called "Rapunzel".
Hyo Imawano from Rival Schools keeps his ankle-long white hair in a ponytail, until he is possessed by his dead father Mugen to become Demon Hyo, after which his hair is let loose but floats eerily in the air as if he was underwater.
In Rosenkreuzstilette, Grolla, Liebea, Lilli, Strudel, and Iris all have hair reaching down to around their knees. The same could be said for Tia, Freudia, and Zorne as well if they unbanded their hair.
Bayonetta definitely qualifies, to the point Rapunzel herself would be jealous. She also qualifies for Godiva Hair because her Spy Catsuitis her hair. It flows off her body whenever she attacks.
Litchi Faye-Ling in BlazBlue has a really long hair, even after tied to a ponytail. Like Millia above, the ponytail can come off and it still touches the ground.
Shantae's purple hair in Shantae reaches very close to the ground level.
As portrayed in Shin Megami Tensei, the Irish fae known as Leanan Sidhe has hair so long she's balancing on it (technically she's actually hovering, but that's the way it looks). In Strange Journey, "She has really long hair. No, really long" is the only hint Anthony needs to give you when you need to take his love confession to one.
Yomotsu Shikome as portrayed in Mega Ten games may count too; It is unclear whether or not it is just a floating head with six feet of hair substituting for an actual body.
Sveta's white Braids of Action in Dark Dawn reach around her ankles in her character art, where she's whipping them around, so they're probably actually longer.
Eoleo's improbably red ponytail for a male example. Really, he's a pirate and he wears his hair like that on the open seas? How does he keep it from tangling? Psynergy?
King of Fighters: Duo Lon is definitely one of the huge embodiments of this trope. Xiao Lon as well in King of Fighters Maximum Impact Regulation A.
Nikki Chan of Three DO fighting game Way Of The Warrior sports a ponytail which dangles to her legs and can be used as a weapon in some of her attacks.
Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, at least in II, III and IV, In IV, if it were not braided, it would be at least knee-length, but it gets progressively shorter in the sequels as they usually feature her at a younger age.
From Clannad: Tomoyo, Kyou and Sanae all fits with their fall slightly past their hips.
Rider in Fate/stay night. The length is pretty inconsistent, at times appearing waist length and at one point when running up a building it trails a good two or three feet below her.
G Senjou No Maou has Haru Usami's trademark head of hair which everyone she meets comments on. It's a huge mess of hair which runs past her hips. It's also plot-related, as when she was a kid, she had a boy-cut. Upon meeting Kyousuke, he comments that he'd like it if Haru had longer hair. The problem was that he didn't specify how long he wanted it.
In a flashback in Tsukihime, Arcueid (pictured) is shown to have had floor length hair before her sister Altrouge chopped it off after beating her in a fight, leaving her with the familiar short hair of the present day. In Melty Blood she gets the long hair back when she turns into Archetype Earth.
In Katawa Shoujo, it is revealed that Misha's pink hair used to be brown and much longer, almost to her waist. Out of the date-able girls, three have long hair: Hanako, Lilly and Emi; in the meantime, Miki Miura is just as longhaired as them.
School Days gives us Kotonoha Katsura and her hip-length hair. Hikari also has pretty long hair, but since she keeps it on pigtails it doesn't look that long.
In Little Busters, both Kurugaya and Kud have very long hair. In particular, Riki seems to have a thing for Kud's hair - he gets distracted by it several times, and there's even a scene/CG where they have to cuddle up together with Kud in front of him and he ends up stroking his hands through it. Kud thinks it's a little weird, but not in a bad way.
In It's Walky!, Sal has waist-length hair long enough to cover all her naughty bits during a post-sex scene, despite being an Action Girl who relies primarily on speed and mobility in combat, though she is super-strong.
Justified with Samantha considering her monster species (Ittboo) are beings with permanent long hair, and since her mother is a Futakuchi-Onna she's also able to control her hair at will.
The webcomic/novel Alien Dice is full of characters with long hair. Chel's hair falls to her knees, Claudia's curls are about knee length. Riley, like most Rishan, has hair past his ankles, but it's mostly worn up. Damien's hair is down to his ankles. Maelinn's hair is ankle length as well. Zaile's hair is very long when compared to his siblings, as a sign of his higher status than them, but shorter than . The alien characters are justified since long hair is a sign of status in their culture, and Litan never cut their hair. Chel's hair, however, is never really mentioned.
Justified in Drowtales, since hairstyle is used to advertise one's social status, with short hair being reserved for slaves and servants. This means that when Vaelia is officially promoted to be Ariel's guard she gets hair extensions put in so she won't be mistaken for a slave. Also, Ariel has another use for her long hair.
Reliquary takes place in a religious culture where hair corresponds to rank. It's common to see clergy with waist-length hair, and the visiting Cardinal's is even longer than that.
Kili of The Dragon Doctors used to have short hair, but ever since she and her boyfriend Greg became werewolves, their hair has started growing incredibly fast and is now pretty much always at this length. This resulted in at least one instance of Godiva Hair when Kili exploded out of her clothes during one werewolf transformation.
This is a common style in Umbria, even having a spiky variant worn by Felincia. Lampshaded in an early arc, where Aylia "repairs" a hideous haircut... by making Jenny's hair grow out too far.
Jenny: How is this solving the problem?! Aylia: Very effectively, I'd say.
Machbom in Bomberman Land Parody was stated to once had hair that trails a few inches across the ground (Present Mach only had shoulder length hair) before Shiro severed it off. Some of the fanarts of him by the same Author also shows that it is inconvenient as his hair gets tangled onto everything prior to getting it cut off
Zintel from Flaky Pastry had this for some time. It seemed to have a mind of its own, though sometime after it was cut short in battle (wherein it mummified her opponent) she showed off the ability to change her hairstyle with a mere thought.
In Seekers, Nareen's high ponytail reaches almost to her feet.
Deirdre Bradley in Avalon. She's even able to braid it in no more than eight seconds due to not having it cut for twenty years.
A yet-to-be-officially-named character of Creative Release has feet-length, blonde hair.
Amber from Matchu has hair so long she can roll into a ball with it, and her morning routine consists of getting rid of things that get stuck in her hair, such as a quarter, her cat, a pizza box, an a-bomb, and her best friend. It is unwise to suggest she cut it off or donate it.
Broken Saints heroine Shandala has hair like this at first, but quickly loses it in favor of a shoulder-length do by Chapter 6.
In Survival of the Fittest v4, we get Bridget Connolly, who is well-known for having knee-length red hair, though usually tied back. This was until she cut it while on the island, after hearing about the death of her best friend, Raina Morales.
When Katara has her hair down, it's almost the same length as when it's in a braid, which anyone with long hair would notice as being wrong - hair braided is quite a bit shorter than when its worn loose, and in order to have a braid that long Katara's unbraided hair should have been just long enough to sit on unbraided (braids that are too long for the unbound-hair length are extremely common in animation, because a hip length braid looks cooler than a more realistic braid). Toph is mostly an aversion, as though the one time we see her with her hair out, it's freaking enormous◊, she normally keeps it in a tight bun roughly the size of the rest of her head.◊
Azula's hair is also pretty long when unbound. It actually seems to be partially getting in her way during her final battle against Zuko and Katara, not that she's concerned.
Both Jazz Fenton and Paulina from Danny Phantom have hair down to their hips, but Literal Genie Desiree is much more blatant in both length and width.
Marge Simpson's enormous Beehive Hairdo. It's been shown that when she has her hair worn down it's roughly waist length. (Though it varies, one episode briefly showed it as knee length, and that was when her hair was falling out)
Who remembers the character Repunzil from KaBlam!'s "The Offbeats"?
June had rapunzel hair once in the H&J shorts before she became part of the show.
One of the Ugly Princesses from Wakfu has Rapunzel Hair... and beard... and mustache... that are prehensile.
In an episode of Totally Spies!, Clover was captured and her hair was grown really long to be used as a wig. Unfortunately, it made her very weak. The other girls even used the hair Rapunzel style.
Sierra from Total Drama World Tour has hair reaching her butt (and she's the tallest girl), and given how it's braided it should be even longer. Unfortunately, as of her injury near the end of the season, she's bald now.
Princess Bubblegum and Marceline of Adventure Time fame have this, with PB's reaching roughly to her knees while Marceline's goes even farther than that. Finn as well.
In Winx Club, the Winx members have flowing hair. In the beginning it used to be at the hips, but then increased to the knees when in a transformation of Enchantix or above, as well as in later seasons. Tecna is the exception, as her hair goes shoulder length at the longest. Of the Trix, Icy and Darcy and long hair as well, especially Darcy as her hair reaches her knees.
Empress Elisabeth◊ ("Sisi/Sissi") of Bavaria. Her hair was so long◊ that it reached her feet and took several hours to comb and braid. Allegedly, her German hairstylist also had hair like that, which allowed her to take an occasional side job as Sisi's Body Double. When the empress had a headache, her hair was suspended by ribbons from the ceiling to take the weight off.
Although not an example of this, here's an indication that such hair really would be difficult in real life: Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Angel, specifically asked that her character get a haircut because the hair was too heavy and difficult to maneuver. This wasn't anything like waist-length, nor was Cordelia that much of an Action Girl.
Likewise, Jason Momoa (Ronon Dex of Stargate Atlantis) asked that his character get his dreadlocks cut shorter because they were heavy enough that they were pulling his hair out at the roots. Hell it gave him whiplash when he turned his head too fast.
Growing one's hair out as long as possible was practically mandatory for a woman in that time period. Ma at one point says that when she first married Pa, she could sit on the ends of her braided hair.
Many Indian women of respectable age have hair reaching almost (or sometimes beyond) the waist. However, most of the time it's neatly tied so it seldom causes problems. Let's not say anything about baptized Sikh men and women other than they have a religious obligation to not cut their hair.
If one wishes to spot said extremely long hair they will be disappointed, Sikh men keep their hair covered in a carefully wrapped turban (called a "pugari", or "pug" for short) that has since become one of the most recognizable symbols of their religion.
In the Qing dynasty, all men were required to shave their forehead and wear the rest of their hair in a braid down their back. As this braid was not allowed to be cut on punishment of death, this resulted in some impressive hair lengths. Females, while not required to wear the braid, were expected to keep their hair long as a sign of propriety; rich women often would wear wigs made of hair sold by poor women to make their hairdos even more elaborate.
Even earlier in the Ming dynasty, men were expected to have quite long hair (and a beard) and it caused much trouble at the beginning of the Qing when suddenly they had to shave their foreheads.
In the movie Shanghai Noon, this is why Chong Wang is so freaked out by Roy's offer to cut off his "ponytail". When Lo Fong cuts it and says, "Now you can never return to China", this is what he's referring to.
Actress Patricia Morison was known for her hair, rumored to be 39 inches long.
Country singer Crystal Gayle, for many years, had floor-length hair. She's cut it to a somewhat more manageable length in her later years.
According to the Guinness World Records, the longest coif in the world belongs to Xie Qiuping, at 5.6m long.
Kill Bill actress Chiaki Kuriyama typically wears natural long jet-black hair that reaches down to her waist.
80's Mexican singer Daniela Romo was very famous for her extremely long dark brown hair, which easily reached down her butt.
Native Americans often have hair that is at least waist-length, as it is a sign of health and (for men) honor/bravery.
The popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer resulted in a trend of young women growing their hair out to achieve Rapunzel Hair in the late 1990s, as some who were of this demographic at that time can attest.
Some people, for whatever reason, actively attempt to cultivate Rapunzel Hair and it is pretty interesting to see one of these people walking around with their hair down or braided so that it's obvious that they've got hair that long.
Sierra McCormick has a more realistic version of this. Her hair is nearly to her waist even when braided or curled.
Apostolic women are mandated by their faith to never cut their hair. However, many of them have it in ponytails or buns.
Male example: Tomi Joutsen, lead singer of the Finnish band Amorphis, has dreadlocks that go down to to his knees.