[[quoteright:350:[[Series/TheBorgias http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheBorgiasCesareandUrsula_3535.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350: StarCrossedLovers separated by duty, vows, and a very thin wall]]

A stock visual metaphor, if you will. Some people (usually a man and woman pair) are separated by a wall, window, or other barrier. The wall is obviously an obstacle, but not the whole of the obstacle; the couple are prevented from uniting by some other means which the wall represents, either a physical cage or cell of some sort, or some form of emotional separation, like a relationship problem.

In order to make the best of this image, the couple will often press their heads against the same spot of the wall, on opposite ends, and the camera will move around the set to show that they are physically very near to each other, but still incapable of touching. If the couple is lucky, they will have a [[WindowLove small hole or window]] to communicate through.

Not to be confused with any variation of the FourthWall.

See ClosedDoorRapport for when one party tries to talk to the other after being shut out. See also WindowLove.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]

* In ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'', [[spoiler:clone ]]Sakura and Syaoran are trapped in the same container but have a glass wall separating them. [[spoiler:It was the price they paid to save their son, to be imprisoned and unable to touch each other.]]
* There's one scene in the second arc of ''Manga/PokemonSpecial''. Red has just shown up, and Yellow and his Pika, who have been searching for him, frantically beat at the strange, one-way mirror wall hoping to get his attention. [[spoiler: They don't.]]
* ''Anime/DragonautTheResonance'' deserves mention here, during the episode in which [[spoiler:Toa has gotten briefly captured by Prince Asim Jamar and Jin goes to rescue her]].
* In one chapter of ''Manga/GreatTeacherOnizuka'', Onizuka goes into the home of a student whose parents are having trouble with their marriage, and proceeds to knock down the wall between the student's room and her parents' room to make a point.
* In episode 5 of anime ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'', Kaito has a meeting with the mermaid Lucia (who he doesn't recognize) when she was in an aquarium and he on the outside. She begs him to find her soon since she cannot tell him who she is unless he figures out himself. Then they kiss with their lips and hands touching the glass.
* Happens between [[spoiler:Moka and Kurumu]] in season II of ''Manga/RosarioToVampire''. They are on opposite sides of a force field, and the latter has just been critically injured. They put their hands up against each others' from opposite sides of the force field before the latter collapses.
* A certain scene from ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'' has Panty spotting a ''gorgeous'' young man ([[spoiler: actually, a [[SheCleansupNicely well-groomed and dressed]] Briefs]]) as they look at one another through an aquarium. It's a very clear parody of a scene in ''Film/WilliamShakespearesRomeoAndJuliet'', featured below.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'': In ''Recap/AsterixAndTheGreatDivide'' a Gaulish village is divided by a large ditch, with two lovers from the separate sides divided. Author Albert Uderzo has said he was inspired by the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall, which still stood at the time this album was written.
* In issue 50 of ''ComicBook/TheSimpsons'', a dispute over a pond between upperclass Springfield and lower-class Springfield, combined with the discovery that the two districts have legally been separate towns, leads to such a wall being built for the duration of the story. According to the narration, years later a ''moat'' of a similar nature would be built.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In Raven Child's ''Fanfic/TheSmurfetteVillage'''s third story "How Things Smurf", Hefty, Brainy, Baby, the Smurflings, and the Smurfettes who were with them are trapped outside the village by a magical force field Papa Smurf erected to keep a dangerous Smurf-infecting disease from spreading. Through the barrier, the Smurfs on the outside talk to the few Smurfs that are still barely alive to find out what had happened.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* That scene in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'' count when the family escapes from the dome Springfield has been put in and Lisa is separated from her love interest (although they could still see each other).
* The scene in ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'' when he goes to visit his mother at the cage. She can't go far enough to see him through the window, but they can touch trunks and she even manages to cradle him with hers while singing a lullaby.
* The animated Disney film ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' puts Anna and Elsa on opposite sides of a wall in the first act, just after the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The Japanese film ''Kikareta Onna No Mirareta Yoru'', translated as "Man, Woman & The Wall".
* Variant in ''Film/HedwigAndTheAngryInch''- Hansel and Luthor (an American stationed in East Germany) are both on the East side of the Berlin Wall but in order to cross over and move with him to America, Hansel must become Hedwig to marry him. The song "Angry Inch" details the botched sex change operation, and the song "Tear Me Down" explicitly compares Hedwig to the wall itself- "Ladies and gentlemen, Hedwig is like that wall! Standing before you in a divide between East and West, slavery and freedom, man and woman, top and bottom."
* The famous Siren dance in the original ''Film/TheWickerMan1973''.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The ending of ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan''. Kirk is separated from Spock by the wall of the main reactor's chamber, and Spock is ''dying''. The two of them cannot touch, cannot even have a ManlyEmbrace as Spock dies... which is something of a metaphor for Spock's entire existence. Apparently the scene itself even had the teamsters hanging around watching it bawling their eyes out while it was being ''filmed.''
--->'''Spock:''' I have been... and always shall be... your ''friend''.
** In ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', [[spoiler:the same thing happens again, with Kirk being the one dying and Spock unable to reach out to him]].
* In the movie ''Film/ItHappenedOneNight'' a spoiled heiress runs away from her controlling father. Nationwide manhunt occurs. A newspaper reporter finds her. They are forced by circumstances to stay in a hotel room over night and the reporter hangs a sheet to preserve her reputation. They even call it the Wall of Jericho. And we all know what happened to [[MeaningfulName that wall]].
* In ''Film/AnotherCinderellaStory'' the male lead is teaching a dance class and the female lead is following along on the other side of the one way mirror. At one point they both lean into the mirror in the same exact spot and appear to feel something from it, even though he doesn't know she's there and they haven't properly met yet.
%%* ''Film/{{Bound|1996}}'', with Corky and Violet in adjacent apartments.
* ''Film/BeingJohnMalkovich'' features this trope in a puppet show about Peter Abelard and Heloise.
* ''Film/WilliamShakespearesRomeoAndJuliet'' has the two first see each other while looking through opposite sides of an aquarium.
* In the Turkish movie ''İncir Reçeli'', the lead romantic couple has only one kiss, and that is from the opposite sides of a glass barrier either of them could easily circumvent. [[spoiler: The reason for this is because the girl has been HIV-positive since birth, and does not want to infect the boy. She explains that while there has only been one documented case of HIV infection through a kiss, and only because the transmitter had a heavy case of bleeding gums, she does not want to risk it.]]
* In the 1959 German film ''Film/{{Sterne}}'', German corporal Walter and Jewish prisoner Ruth are separated by the wiring of a concentration camp.
* A more [[BuffySpeak action-y]] variant in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' -- [[StudentAndMasterTeam Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan]] are separated by a ForceFieldDoor which prevents Obi-Wan from [[spoiler:saving Qui-Gon from being killed by Darth Maul]].
* In the 1978 film ''Film/MidnightExpress'', Susan presses herself against the glass separating her from Billy.

* Pyramus and Thisbe, who can only communicate through the literal wall separating their parent's properties. It comes from ''Literature/TheMetamorphoses'' by the Roman writer Ovid, making this trope OlderThanFeudalism.
* In a nod to Pyramus & Thisbe there is something similar going on in the Creator/AstridLindgren book ''Literature/RonjaTheRobbersDaughter'' although no one dies, and the kids aren't exactly romantically involved.
* In ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', Maximilien and Valentine, another pair of star-crossed lovers also have to communicate through a hole in the wall; the chapter is titled "Pyramus and Thisbe".
* A married couple in ''Literature/EverythingIsIlluminated'' sleep in separate rooms after the husband becomes prone to violent outburst following a head injury. From then on, the couple only communicate through a hole in the wall... although they "communicate" a few children through it, too. [[RuleOfSymbolism Um...]]
* Jayfeather and Half Moon from ''Warrior Cats''. Several hundred cat years apart, plus one stinking prophecy. Need we say anymore?
** Also applies to the physical barrier between the Dark Forest and [=StarClan=], at least for Dark Forest residents. The two territories are separated by a misty border, which [=StarClan=] cats can pass through, at the risk of being unable to find their way back out of the Dark Forest, while Dark Forest residents are completely prevented from passing through to [=StarClan=] territory. Unfortunately, this means that Dark Forest cats cannot visit with mates or other loved ones in [=StarClan=] unless the [=StarClan=] cats decide to pass through to the Dark Forest, but this is very rare in the canon.
* ''Film/LetTheRightOneIn'': Eli and Oskar live in neighboring apartments and communicate through the wall using Morse code. TheFilmOfTheBook uses the visual motif for other things like the door to Eli's apartment and them watching each other through windows.
* ''Literature/ThePerilousGard'': Fellow prisoners Kate and Christopher start out as bickering foils, but get to know each other ''extremely well'' while talking through a cell wall in total darkness.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In "Doomsday", the Doctor and Rose press themselves against the same wall, which [[spoiler:unfortunately happens to be in different universes for each of them.]] So they manage to occupy the same spot while still being unable to communicate or connect.
** Happens again in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E10TheGirlWhoWaited The Girl Who Waited]]" with Rory and [[spoiler: Older Amy.]]
** The Doctor and Clara engage in the WindowLove version in "Under the Lake", appropriate for a pairing that is portrayed as intensely [[AnchoredShip platonic/romantic yet never intimate]].
* ''Series/PushingDaisies'' does this with Ned and Chuck, representative of the fact that they are unable to touch each other. He's lying on the couch in the living room and she's in the bedroom around the corner.
* Jack and Kate do this on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' when they are captives of the Others and being held separately, after she is brought in to see him while he is being held in a room with a glass wall.
* In the ''Series/StargateSG1'' season 4 episode "Upgrades", Carter and O'Neill are stuck on opposite sides of a force field when the bracelets giving them superpowers fail and the place is about to explode. This sets up everything in "Divide and Conquer".
* In ''Series/FreshMeat'', Howard's and Josie's rooms are separated by a thin plaster board. A little bonus, there's a glory hole through which they sometimes talk through. Howard even does a piece of interpretive drama about this predicament entitled "Wall Man".
* Lee Adama and Kara Thrace end up sitting back-to-back against a firing-range barrier in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' in a scene which ends with him telling her he loves her.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. One of the more romantic scenes in the otherwise DestructiveRomance between Buffy and Spike in Season 6 is when Buffy, patrolling the cemetery, is drawn to Spike's crypt. Spike's vampire SpiderSense tips him to her presence and he touches the stone door, anticipating her entry, as Buffy does the same thing from the opposite side. But when Spike pulls open the door Buffy has already fled.
* On ''Series/TheBorgias'', one of Cesare's early meetings with Ursula (the main image) is in a {{Confessional}} during which much is made of the wall between them.
* On ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', in season four, Stefan and Elena are locked in separate prison cells after being captured by vampire hunters. A wall separates Stefan and Elena from being able to see each other. Stefan and Elena start to confess how much they love each other and Elena that she had chosen Stefan before she had drowned and died. Elena then tells Stefan that "she really wishes she could see him right now" while placing her hand on the wall as a form of communication with Stefan, suggesting that she is desperate to see him. Stefan then tells Elena through the cell wall: "I'm smiling".

* Pink Floyd's ''Music/TheWall'', obviously.
* The cover to Music/GeorgeHarrison's album ''Music/WonderwallMusic''. (Note the hole in the wall).
* Music/DavidBowie's "'Heroes'" is commonly interpreted as being about two lovers separated by the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall, [[DeathOfTheAuthor which is fine as far as it goes]]. The song technically never specifies if the wall does separate them (the real people that inspired it met on the same side, if that helps).
* Music/LouReed's ''Music/{{Berlin}}'' is a ConceptAlbum build around the Berlin Wall and the tragedies taking place there.

[[folder:Music Videos]]
* The video for the Marillion song "Kayleigh," on the other hand, definitely plays this straight, again with the Berlin Wall.
* Featured in the "Walking After You" video by the Music/FooFighters.

* Parodied with Pyramus and Thisbe from ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', star-crossed lovers who have only a hole in the wall to talk (and indirectly kiss) through. It should be noted that the wall is a speaking part.
* The entire first act of ''The Fantasticks'', in which two lovers are prevented from seeing each other due to their parents wishes.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A crucial scene between Alexander and Cassima in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'' happens this way, down to the two-shot.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/TheSecondReproduction'', one of Lezette's [=CGs=] features him and Christina communicating through the church's wall.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/DrawWithMe'' is a textbook example of this, but they find a way to communicate anyways.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Billy and Penny in ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog''. Though it's worth noting that they're actually leaning against different walls, but camera tricks make it appear like just one wall.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* An old, '90s era CGI short film had a globe/universe divided into sky and ocean by a solid crystal barrier. A school of fish swam beneath and a flock of birds flew above. When one fish and bird see each other, they become friends/fall in love, but are frustrated by the crystal separating them. The bird flies to the highest reaches of the sphere and dives down, crashing through the crystal and allowing all the other birds and fish to mingle. The fish who fell in love nudges the prone body, hoping for life, when thankfully the bird perks up and they both embrace face to face.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': The episode "A Tale of Two Springfields", has Springfield divided in two by a wall.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "Unsound Smurfs", the Smurflings and Puppy are trapped outside the village when Brainy casts a spell that casts an unbreakable soundproof barrier around the village. Fortunately, because the Smurfs obtained the ChekhovsSkill of sign language from Laconia, they were able to communicate with each other in order to tell the Smurflings what they must do to break the barrier.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In the vein of David Bowie's song further up the page, this tended to happen a lot when the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall was up. In a History Channel documentary covering this time period and people who tried to get across, about half (at least) of the stories were the {{Zany Scheme}}s couples came up with to get one or the other to West Berlin.