Rooftop Confrontation

Fighting on top of buildings is totally Badass. Probably because of the risk of falling off. For whatever reason, often resulting from a Chase Scene or an attempted and botched escape (sometimes courtesy of a Climbing Climax), two characters wind up squaring off on a rooftop. Sometimes involves Roof Hopping if it takes place in the middle of a city, but sometimes a single rooftop can be just as badass, since it limits a character's maneuverability.

Of course, if the characters spend all their time in a crowded school or office building, the roof might be the only place that they feel like they have any room to maneuver for a fight. Bonus points if the building has some other reason to be up there, such as a rooftop garden, helipad, or basketball court.

Marvel Comics might be the trope codifier - rooftops are handy for superheroes as they allow a fight in the middle of the city without (too many) civilians getting in the way.

Traintop Battle is a mobile variant. See also Executive Suite Fight.

Video game examples should only be added if they are particularly unique or unusual, since it's common in fighting games to have a rooftop stage that has no plot relevance whatsoever.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • At the climax of Tsumihoroboshi-hen in Higurashi: When They Cry, Keiichi and Rena square off on the roof of the school.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The Individual Eleven practice a ritualized Mutual Kill on top of a rooftop; it ends with a sword-fight when one of them changes his mind. All of this is caught on tape and makes for a pretty horrifying news report.
  • In the TV version of Yamada Taro Monogatari (can't vouch for the manga here) Sugiura confronts Taro on the rooftop in an early episode.
    • In the film version of X1999, the final battle takes place on the roof of a tall building.
  • In volume 7 of Parasyte, Goto faces off against the military on the roof of a building. He massacres them.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto's first fight with Sasuke takes place on the roof of the hospital where Sasuke had been staying.
    • Orochimaru fights Sarutobi on a rooftop. Sarutobi is quite cool with it though, as he makes up the Rooftile Shuriken jutsu during the battle (in the anime).
  • In One Piece, the entirety of Luffy's fight with Blueno takes place on the roof of the courthouse of Enies Lobby.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: Near the end of the fourth Incident File ("Lover Come Back to Me") Ayaka gets cornered on the roof of the Hadja's temple. Which culminates in a showdown between her and Mukyo, in one of the most well animated and choreographed sword fights in the series.
  • Variable Geo ends with the long awaited showdown between Yuka and Satomi, which takes place atop the Jahana research facility as it burns down around them. Except we're not allowed to see the outcome, since it immediately cuts to the credits, just as the match begins.
  • In the beginning of Arachnid, Alice Fuji fights her master and father figure, Kumo, at the top of a building. Near the end she battles her evil disappeared biological father, Suzume Bachi, at the rooftop of her school.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! apparently kept trying to top itself on how high up people could confront.
    • Kaiba and Yuugi's climactic duel in the Duelist Kingdom arc takes place atop Pegasus's castle.
    • Later, during Battle City, Kaiba and Yuugi team up to face the mask team on top of a glass-ceilinged skyscraper where the losers would be sent plummeting.
    • The Battle city semifinals themselves take place on a blimp. Not in a blimp - exposed to the elements on top of it.

    Comicbooks 
  • In All Fall Down, Portia trades blows with the Ghoul on a skyscraper after he interrupts her suicide attempt.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Jerry's last battle with Percy Jackson takes place on top of the church, because he considered it "a goofy site for all of (his) followers to see (his) victory."
  • In Cosmic Warriors, Tuxedo Mask and Jadeite have their first shown altercation on a roof of what is either a large jewelry store, or a building near one.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mulan fights Shan Yu on the roof of the Imperial Palace.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Raphael heads for the roof after a fight with Leonardo. Suddenly, a bunch of Foot ninjas attack him. After their numbers grow, they manage to overtake him and throw him into April's apartment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The climatic showdown of Internal Affairs pits Chan, an undercover cop, against his longtime foe Lau, a Triad mole in the police department. Their confrontation is on the same rooftop where Chang's handler, Wong, was murdered. This scene is reenacted in the American remake, The Departed.
  • If you don't know where the climax to King Kong happened, this troper doesn't know what to say to you
  • The Matrix has an epic fight scene on top of a building.
  • Predator 2. Lieutenant Harrigan fights the Predator on the roof of a building as part of a running battle with it.
  • Near the end of Who Am I?, Jackie Chan faces off against the Big Bad's Co-Dragons, an Evil Brit and a Chinaman, atop a skyscraper, in one of his most death defying fight sequences ever, ending with No Escape but Down.
  • The climax of Hollywood Homicide ended up on a roof.
  • Subverted in Spider-Man 2. A fight between Spiderman and Octavious begins on the roof of a building, but they end up chasing each other all over the city.
  • The original Die Hard movie has this, with the plot-relevant roof being special because it doesn't survive the fight.
  • Last Action Hero. The climactic battle between Jack Slater and the Ripper occurs on a rooftop.
  • The final confrontation between Colin Sullivan and Billy Costigan in The Departed is on a rooftop, although the actual shooting happens in the lift when they reach the ground floor.
  • Denny and the drug dealer "tangle" in The Room. The incident itself is never mentioned again.
  • Near the beginning of Batman (1989), the title character confronts and fights two robbers on the roof of a building where they're counting their ill-gotten gains.
  • Scotland PA ends with a fight between McBeth and Lt McDuff on the roof of a fast food restaurant.
  • In Max Payne, the climax where Max confronts the guy who killed his wife occurs on a hele-pad on top of the Aesir Pharmaceuticals high-rise building.
  • In the film version of Ichi the Killer, the final confrontation takes place on the roof of the Yakuza apartment building.
  • The 1920 silent movie The Golem features a showdown between the Golem and Knight Florian on top of the Rabbi's observatory tower.
  • In Total Recall (2012), Quaid and Coohagen face off atop skyscraper-sized building, The Fall.
  • Freder and Rotwang on the cathedral rooftop in Metropolis.
  • The Crow: The final battle between Eric and Top Dollar takes place on the roof of a church.

    Literature 
  • Lampshaded heavily in all of Robert Rankin's books that feature Lazlo Woodbine, Private Detective. Lazlo only works four locations: his office, a bar, a back alley, and a rooftop for the final denouement with the villain.
  • In Animorphs, Ax chases Visser Three onto a rooftop to confront him for a one-on-one battle.
  • Rivers of London:
    • Forms part of the climax in "Moon Over Soho" and lets our hero throw a chimney stack at the Big Bad.
    • Occurs again at the end of "Broken Homes" where the returning Big Bad engineers one of these between him and Peter, then blows the building up underneath them.
  • The final controntation in Night Watch (the book and the movie) happens on a rooftop. The movie has Anton fight with Zabulon with a halogen lamp (Zabulon is wielding a sword he has just pulled out of his spine). In the book, Zabulon is about to kill Anton with a powerful spell after Anton has a revelation about Svetlana but is stopped.
    • In the movie, the entire fight is choreographed by Zabulon to end up with Anton nearly killing Yegor by accident, resulting in the latter becoming a Dark Other.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, the final confrontation between Yuji, Shana and Friagne happens on the roof of an abandoned department store.
  • At the end of Fancy Apartments, the heroes are directed by the main villian to the roof for the final confrontation.
  • After a very long battle in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf ends the fight against the Balrog atop the highest peak of the Misty Mountains.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore is killed after a very tense conversation in Hogwart's Astronomy Tower.
  • Lazlo Woodbine, a recurring character in the comedic fiction of Robert Rankin, is a fourth-wall-breaking parody of the Hardboiled Detective who can only ever appear in four places—one of which is a rooftop for a climactic final battle. (The other three are his office, a bar, and an alleyway.)
  • In the Garrett, P.I. novel, Red Iron Nights, the final battle with/big reveal of the Big Bad takes place on a rooftop.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens in a first season episode of Battlestar Galactica where Six beats Sharon up on top of a building.
  • CSI NY Mac and Clay Dobson in one episode of a several ep arc in season 3. Mac had busted a dirty cop and Dobson was released because of the cop's testimony being tossed out. He killed another person, though, and Mac chased him down, cornering him on the rooftop. Dobson waited to be cuffed, then jumped off the roof in an attempt to frame Mac for police brutality, though it failed.
  • Season 3 of Dexter featured a rooftop confrontation between Miguel and Dexter towards the climax of the season. It was only a confrontation, not really a fight... but it was a pretty awesome scene anyway.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The very first morphed battle occurs atop a building in Angel Grove.
  • Although no actual physical fighting occurs, in Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty have a final confrontation on the roof of St. Bart's in "The Reichenbach Fall."
  • In Soap Mary's first husband confronts Burt and tries to kill him on top of a building in mid-construction, so he can take over the constructing business.
  • Discussed in an early episode of Due South, Huey and Louis are talking trash with Ray Vecchio, and they make tentative plans to duke it out on the roof of the precinct later.

    Music 
  • "Oi! To The World", originally by the Vandals and later covered by No Doubt, is about a rooftop battle between a Middle Eastern punk and a skinhead on Christmas Day. The song ends with the punk saving the skin's life in the spirit of the season.

    Pinball 
  • After correctly identifying the killer in WHO dunnit, the player must take a taxi to Tony's Palace, then confront the culprit on the hotel rooftop and catch him before time runs out.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Theme Parks 

    Videogames 
  • In Vigilante, the fifth and final stage has the player fighting on top of girders high above street level.
  • Indigo Prophecy (AKA Fahrenheit) has a fight above a roof between Lucas and the Oracle.
  • Climactic showdowns in the Yakuza series are prone to taking place atop a very tall building.
  • SaGa 2 had one in Edo World atop the castle, at nightfall. Said rooftop also has special encounters which drop Flare tomes or powerful swords.
  • The battle against Zenim in Daikaijuu Monogatari. He even falls off the roof when defeated.
  • One of the boss fights in Red Steel 2 ends with Cutscene Power to the Max for both the boss and the protagonist. The boss manage to knock the hero all the way onto a roof and then they proceed to fight up there until the hero breaks the sword in half and pushes him off the building...apparently jumping up four stories is fine, but not falling down them.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Snake and Liquid have an intense hand-to-hand duel atop Metal Gear Rex.
  • In Bully,Gary and Jimmy's final fight happens at the school's rooftop.
  • Assassin's Creed II: One of Ezio's targets is hiding atop the highest tower in San Gemignano.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan duels his father Tarquin on a rooftop after realizing that the man is evil. His adversary approves of the location choice.
  • Adventure Dennis has its final climactic battle take place on a rooftop.
  • Both the Fan Webcomic Roommates and its Spin-Off Girls Next Door had one. Sort of. The Roommates one planed by Dark!Jareth got highly anti-climatic when all heroic characters basically refused to fight him (and his own villainous deeds became his undoing). The Girls Next Door one by Erik got weird when the other characters brought the popcorn... and the heroines didn't need saving anyway.
  • Homestuck: No matter what the timeline, Dave Strider has a thing for these. In Act I, he was throwing down with his brother over a pair of Sburb beta discs; his Alpha timeline version in Act VI makes his last appearance shredding the evil juggalo presidents in a fight on top of the White House.

    Western Animation