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Rooftop Confrontation
Careful, don't fall!

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:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • At the climax of Tsumihoroboshi-hen in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, 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 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.

    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.

    Film 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The climax of Jackie Chan's Who Am I was a martial-arts fight atop a skyscraper, ending with No Escape but Down.
  • 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.
  • Batman (1989). Near the beginning 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
  • Sa Ga 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.
  • The final confrontation between Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4 takes place on the "roof" of Outer Haven, the latter's new base.

    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 


Roof HoppingDangerous HeightsSitting on the Roof
Rewind, Replay, RepeatDrama TropesRule of Drama
Retail RiotFighting In All The Wrong Places IndexSlaughterhouse Fight
Parking GarageBuilding TropesRoof Hopping
Road Sign ReversalAction Adventure TropesRope Bridge
Rock Paper SwitchFight SceneRoundhouse Kick

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