Elan: I'm pretty sure a climactic duel is the proper procedure for dramatically defeating corrupt tyrants!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.
Tarquin: On a rooftop, no less. Exquisite.
Tarquin: On a rooftop, no less. Exquisite.
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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'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.
- Assassination Classroom: In the Assassination Island arc, the final fight between Nagisa and Takaoka takes place on the helipad of a hotel.
- Both the first and final battles of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's start with Vita attacking Nanoha on top of a building, though the battles quickly move elsewhere since all the characters can fly.
- Shamanic Princess loves to show characters posing dramatically on spires, columns, and the like, making the transition to rooftop combat irresistibly easy.
- In All Fall Down, Portia trades blows with the Ghoul on a skyscraper after he interrupts her suicide attempt.
- In issue #3 of Mother Panic, the titular character fights Batwoman on a roof.
- Red Robin: When Tim introduces Stephanie and Pru on a rooftop in Gotham as Ra's enacts his plan to take out Bruce's loved ones Pru pulls a gun on Steph saying the reason she knows Ra's plan so well is because she was assigned to take out Steph. Stephanie disarms and pins her almost immediately though Tim realizes with a grin that Pru's gun wasn't loaded meaning she really has switched sides. Later Dick and Damian casually take out a whole slew of League of Assassins ninjas on another Gotham rooftop.
- 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.
- In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, Auron and Jecht have one of these on Braska’s apartment building.
- 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."
- The culminating battle of A.A. Pessimal's Discworld adventure Hyperemesis Gravidarum takes place on the rooftop when Assassin Johanna confronts the man who is out to kill her, who she (wrongly) believes has just been responsible for murdering her sister. to add a bit of operating difficulty, Johanna is, by her own countnote , over eight months pregnant.
Films — Animated
- Disney likes this trope, since it leads to Disney Villain Deaths very easily:
- Beauty and the Beast' Gaston chases the Beast onto the rooftops of the Castle.
- Mulan fights Shan Yu on the roof of the Imperial Palace. Notably, he isn't dispatched by a Disney Villain Death but by being blown up by fireworks.
- Judge Frollo pursues Quasimodo and Esmeralda onto the rooftops of Notre-Dame of Paris, no less.
Films — Live-Action
- 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 through a skylight and down into April's apartment.
- 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.
- King Kong. It Was His Sled.
- 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 mastermind of his family's murder 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.
- The Final Battle of Hardcore Henry culminates in Henry confronting Akan and his cyborg army on the helipad atop his corporate headquarters.
- The final showdown between Jake and Alonzo occurs on the rooftop of Alonzo's apartment in Training Day.
- Vampirella: Vampirella's final showdown with Vlad takes place on the roof of his base.
- 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, with the latter being reserved 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.
- In the Garrett, P.I. novel, Red Iron Nights, the final battle with/big reveal of the Big Bad takes place on a rooftop.
- 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.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Prophecy Girl", Buffy's post-temporary-death rematch with the Master took place on the roof of the high school, and culminated with the Master being hurled through a skylight into the library.
- Happy! has Nick's showdown with Very Bad Santa in the first season finale, atop the roof of the abandoned department store the latter uses as a lair.
- 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.
- One of these with CZW owner John Zandig nearly killed "Sick" Nick Mondo, or rather should have killed or nearly killed him based on data on falls from such a height but merely convinced him to take a break from wrestling, after his next match.
- In Vigilante, the fifth and final stage has the player fighting on top of girders high above street level.
- Fahrenheit (AKA Indigo Prophecy) 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.
- Retired Hunter Djura in Bloodborne mans a Gatling Gun at the rooftop of Old Yharnam to protect the Beasts, you can confront him at the rooftop to get rid of him via Disney Villain Death, or, have audience with Darkneast Paarl first, and then head back to the said rooftop from below without him seeing you so you can befriend him and have a conversation.
- From the Unreal franchise:
- Unreal II: The Awakening features a mission where you guide a scientist up to the very top ceiling of a large skyscraper.
- Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2004 feature the map Morpheus, which takes place atop of three skyscrapers whose height spans up to the space.
- 2003 and 2004 also feature the map Plunge, Morpheus' Spiritual Successor, which adds a fourth skyscraper, and the Bombing Run map Skyline, with each team and the ball getting an own skyscraper each.
- 2004 has also the downloadable official map Icarus for the Onslaught gamemode, which was set to be included with the game but wasn't finished in time. It spans several skyscrapers, each with their own nodes, and two of them feature the Leviathan, kept in that position.
- Quake IV has three rooftop battles against Strogg soldiers, a Heavy Hovertank and a giant flying gorilla taking place atop each of the three communication towers before entering into the Strogg main tower.
- In Crackdown, the battle against the Shai-Gen Corporation's leader is fought in the rooftop garden of his tower. He's more content to shoot at you from a higher balcony, unless you knock him off of it.
- In Tom and Jerry: Frantic Antics, a Sega Genesis game based on Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Tom confronts Aunt Figg on the roof of the cabin in the final level.
- Banjo-Kazooie: The Final Boss battle against Grunty takes place at the very top of her lair. After the battle, she falls all the way down to Spiral Mountain, leaving a deep Impact Silhouette in which she gets trapped by a boulder. This sets the stage for Banjo-Tooie, whose own final battle takes place at the top of Cauldron Keep.
- Yooka-Laylee being a Spiritual Successor to Banjo-Kazooie, its final battle partially takes place on a roof: The titular duo originally faces Capital B at the topmost room of his lair, but it turns into a rooftop confrontation when Dr. Quack accidentally opened the room's roof and raised the floor (He was supposed to activate lasers, but he pushed the wrong button).
- If you don't manage to finish off the Shogun boss in MadWorld (by being really good) the boss is scripted to jump through the ceiling to land on the roof for a climactic showdown.
- Dragon Age: Origins has a Final Boss battle with the Archdemon on the roof of Fort Drakon, the tallest building in Denerim.
- Planescape: Torment has an unusual example: you confront the Final Boss on the roof of the Fortress of Regrets, in a pocket of the Negative Energy Plane. Though you don't need to fight him if you've played your cards right and pumped up your Wisdom stat to 23 - you can either wish yourself into nonexistence or go for Talking the Monster to Death.
- The climactic battle of Final Fantasy Tactics' third chapter has you fighting Marquis Elmdore and a pair of assassins on the roof of Riovanes Castle.
- 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.
- Girl Genius: Agatha has a fight in the rain on top of the highest rooftop in Mechanicsburg with a brainwashed Gil when he tries to "save" her from his father by kidnapping her for him.
- 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.
- Critical Role: During Scanlan's solo mission to cause a distraction during the group's assault on the new nobles of Whitestone he has a brief but impressive confrontation with Count Vekmire: A gnome fighting a goliath on the roof of a burning building during a thunderstorm!
- Leo vs Raph in TMNT.
- The opening sequence of Batman: The Animated Series features Batman confronting bank robbers on a rooftop.
- At the end of the episode "Showdown", Jonah Hex has a knife-sword fight atop an airship.
- Gravity Falls has Dipper battling a living wax statue on top of the Mystery Shack.
- The Legend of Korra: The climax of "And the Winner is...." has Lin team up with Korra, against the Equalists, on the roof of the probending arena.
- In the "Batman: The Animated Series" episode "Bone", the Joker taunts Batman on the roof of his warehouse hideout with the cardboard box containing the clay model he has made of Batman's head, from an X-ray of Batman's skull, saying "Why don't you come and take it?"; Batman does, giving Joker a comprehensive beat down as well.