Have you ever noticed that when you drop a piece of toast, it will always land buttered side down? (Wait, you haven't? But never mind.) Well, if media is to be believed, something similar happens if you drop or throw a weapon — it will always land pointy side down. And not only that, but it will always penetrate the ground at a neat angle between 90 and 45 degrees and stay upright. Why? Because it looks cool, of course!
This also applies to vertical surfaces, with the blade almost always at a perfect 90 degree angle to the wall or cliff. Also when a dagger (or sword) is thrown into a person it will stick out at a perfect 90 degree angle.
In more ridiculous instances, this will even apply to blunt weapons like staves.
Depending on the the type and quality of the special effects, this can be justified a bit; the padding that the faux blade rests in once it's hit an actor needs to keep the blade there for a bit, and a 90 degree angle does this easiest, since it gives the blade more support.
Can be Truth in Television sometimes, but only if the pointy end is heavier, which is common on cleaving weapons like axes but not with certain swords, since the center of balance of a thin sword like the one in the page picture is close to the hilt. However, even in balanced swords, the pointy end is so much longer that with enough spin, it is still likely to strike blade-first, if perhaps not point-first; so long as the blade travels less distance in the course of one revolution than the difference in length between the blunt and sharp ends, the sharp bits will always hit first.
Throwing knives with enlarged pommels take this one step further, as the center of mass - and thus the center of a good spin - is extremely close to one end, making it a near-certainty that a spinning blade will strike edge- or point-first. Whether or not it'll actually plunge the point in is, of course, another matter, and it won't be a neat, perpendicular insertion - unless by chance it happens to run out of momentum in that position after cutting through the surface. If the knife is thrown as a dart instead of spining in mid-flight, it likely will land pointy end in. Note also that knife-throwing still takes a bunch of practice to do correctly.
When the sword is used to climb, stand, or swing off of after penetration, it's also Stepping-Stone Sword. When thrown intentionally, may overlap with Throwing Your Sword Always Works. When physically driven into the earth by hand, it's a Sword Plant.
Done in the most epic way, in Mazinkaiser, where the titular character curstomps the Evil Guy, Ankoku no Dai Shogun, and his sword, that flew off his hands almost a minute ago, lands in the pointy end in the middle of the very face of said evil guy. Bonus point that said Big Bad Evil Guy had two heads, one over the shoulders and another in the torso. Mazinkaiser ripped his first head with Dual Rocket Punches, before said end.
It happened every so often in Daimos. If a sword-wielder was defeated, often his sword landed tip-first. It happened even to Kyoshiro.
Taken to a ridiculous extreme in Gundam Wing, episode 31: in a fencing match against Dorothy Catalonia, her sword ends up like this. The ridiculous part? They were practice fencing swords, with a round point! How did he manage that? We will never know.
Happens constantly in InuYasha, where even a staff and a boomerang are capable of pulling off this feat. This is especially ridiculous when you remember Tessaiga will shrink from a BFS to a normal katana when it leaves the titular character's hand, which should leave it sitting in a crater, which should in turn destabilize it enough for it to fall over.
In One Piece, Zoro tests a super-sharp cursed sword against his luck by throwing it in the air and holding his arm out. The sword spins around his arm perfectly and lands point down, sinking through the wood floor almost to the hilt. Justified as the sword is semi-sentient; it's implied that Zoro's courage earned its respect and loyalty.
In Record of Lodoss War, all weapons land on the pointy end. Always! It happens about two or three times each episode.
In Soul Eater, Mifune uses a Storm of Blades to create a Field of Blades, using this principle. Every single sword he threw [read: launched 20 of them simultaneously into the air without seeming to even aim] landed Pointy End In, and stuck with enough firmness that he could run across their hilts at one point. A bunch landed this way even one time he launched them directly out of his big case, where they started with their handles facing the target, by kicking the opposite end of the box a bunch of times.
Used in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, mostly so that Sayaka can pull it back out of the ground like a boss. It doesn't always happen, but it manages to do this in some pretty ridiculous scenarios, like when Homura knocks her out and she drops her sword; it magically flips over and jams itself in the ground.
During the Sasuke-v-Deidara fight in Naruto, Deidara uses a clay dragon to strafe Sasuke with missiles while his intangible partner turns the ground into a minefield. A blast knocks Sasuke's sword out of his hands and it lands blade-first. Then, just when Deidara thinks it's all over, it turns out that was deliberate - it gives Sasuke somewhere safe to standand boosts the range of his attacks enough to knock his dragon out of the air.
Casca throws a knife at Guts when she awakens after a fall into a river to find that he had stripped her of her soaking wet clothes in order to warm her; it sticks blade-first in the tree by his head. Somewhat plausible in the manga and television series, where it could conceivably have been a weighted throwing knife. Less so in the theatrical film, where it is a rapier.
During the Hawks' Darkest Hour, Corkus strikes his sword against a boulder in frustration and despair and snaps it in half. The broken-off shard of blade spins into the air and plants itself tip-first in the ground as Corkus falls to his knees. Hilarious in Hindsight verging on Harsher in Hindsight when a "broken" Corkus also attempts to plant himself tip-first right before dying.
The French comic Le Chant d'Excalibur (Excalibur's Song) has this happen regularly (it is the Sword in the Stone, after all) whether it be in stone, wood or other material.
Averted in the Transformers fanfic A Child Shall Lead Them. When Swoop throws his sword in anger, it hits the wall and bounces off, leaving a gash.
In The Mark of Zorro, Don Diego flings his sword at his enemy, and it sticks into the ground at his feet.
Averted at the end of Big Trouble in Little China when Jack Burton throws his dagger at Lo Panand misses - the dagger bounces off the wall and clatters harmlessly to the floor. Lo Pan picks it up, amused, and flicks it back at Jack, who snatches it out of the air and throws it back again, this time nailing the sucker right between the eyes! "It's all in the reflexes."
The end of Braveheart had one of these with Wallace's claymore.
Inverted by the second Crocodile Dundee film. Mick Dundee wants to knock out a guard with his knife. Because the pointy end always lands first when he throws it holding the blade, he flips it around and throws it by the handle, causing the handle to hit the guard in the head and render him unconscious instead of drawing blood.
Happens in Enchanted at the end. Giselle apparently has enough strength to make a thrown sword pierce a metal decoration, with enough strength to support a grown man's weight.
The Matrix: Trinity throws a knife with enough force to stick it in a man's skull. Justified in that she's inside the Matrix at the time and can bend its rules to perform superhuman feats.
In The Mummy Returns, this is the end result of a sword throw working. After Ardeth Bey throws his sword at an Anubis Warrior, it lands pointy-end-down in the sand so that he can pick it up while riding past.
Mystery Men: Subverted somewhat in that the Blue Raja won't use knives. And all his forks invariably bounce off what they're aimed at — until the Sphinx shows him how to throw. Then they always stick tines first, and are strong enough that Mr. Furious can use them to climb with.
In The Colour of Magic, the first book, Rincewind kills a troll in this manner — through a bizarre coincidence resulting from the gods using them both as pawns in a board game.
In Night Watch, during a duel Sam Vimes throws his sword away and the blade sticks into a wall. He hadn't intended to do that, but notes to himself that it looked damned impressive.
And in The Fifth Elephant, it happens by sheer accident when Vimes throws a screwdriver onto the floor in frustration.
In Hogfather, a crowbar which falls several dozen stories, end over end, amazingly manages to land point-first on a flagstone where it stays standing up.
In Reaper Man, a very large iron screw falls from the chandelier in the University dining hall, and gets stuck point-down in the dining table near Mustrum Ridcully's hand. Pterry really likes this trope.
Played straight and then subverted in A Song of Ice and Fire. At one point, Arya and Sandor Clegane get into a fight, where one of their opponents throws a knife, which, while misses the intended target, lands in the wall perfectly pointy end first. Arya tries the same on said opponent, failing.
Averted in Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books. The protagonist spends weeks practicing and states that he has a 2 in 3 chance of getting a thrown dagger in point first if his target will stand perfectly still, exactly 15 feet away. He then asserts that the real point of throwing a knife is for the target to flinch, giving him a few seconds to do something useful.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Reepicheep throws his sword into the lily sea before going to Aslan's country, and it sticks straight up with its hilt above the surface.
Played slightly straight and slightly subverted in The Hunger Games. While demonstrating her knife-throwing ability, Katniss impressively lodges a knife in a wall, but by accident. Later on, a girl in the Games with knife-throwing as her primary skill chucks several at Katniss. One of them actually hits her blade first in the head, but does not have super-skull-piercing velocity, only giving her a nasty cut.
Averted in Redwall. Main character Matthias practices using throwing knives but they always strike the target handle first no matter what he does. During the final battle he uses this skill to nonlethaly disarm several enemy combatants.
Similarly averted in Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony when Billy Kong knocks another man unconscious by hitting him on the forehead with the hilt of a throwing knife. Minerva notes that the knife was only a half revolution away from Kong facing murder charges.
This trope applies to the three instances we see throwing knives used in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned. Justified in that two were thrown by Crown Prince Alaric, who is explicitly stated to be the best knife-thrower in the country, and in the third case the thrower cheated and basically grabbed in and stuck it in with telekinesis.
In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla throws a knife into the ground and manages to get it to stick. She was arguably doing it on purpose, but she manages to do this to a metal floor.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The original Megazord's sword is summoned from the skies, and is either caught in the Megazord's hand or lands point-first in the ground. They actually take advantage of this once, to cut the Megazord free of Octoplant's vines. Additionally, Goldar's sword lands point-first after Tommy kicks it out of his hand in "Green No More".
In the first episode of Young Blades, Jacqueline throws a sword which lands not only point-first in the ground, but safely between the legs of a male character.
In the TV show Top Shot, which revolves around various tests of marksmanship with various weapons, a knife-throwing challenge came up. The entire challenge showed just how unrealistic the trope is, with most thrown knives simply bouncing off the wooden targets.
Anything thrown by Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer invariably ends up pointy-end first in the heart of her target, but Oz tried it with a stake once and it just bounced off harmlessly.
In Breaking Bad, one of the Salamanca twins drops a wickedly sharp axe (which had been raised above his head), and it lands corner-first, burying itself an inch deep in tarmac.
in the episode, "Heir Apparent part 2," from Power Rangers Mystic Force, during a battle between Nick and Korragg, Nick's sword lands this way with Korragg telling him to pick up his sword and continue.
Used in a non-canon BIONICLE promo animation featuring Kopaka Nuva. As he somersaults, he lets go of his sword, hand still attached, which then sinks into the mountain snow with its tip. Re-attaching his arm to it with a loud click, it causes the whole mountainside to collapse, taking the three Bohrok standing on it with it.
In the opening cutscene of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall's gunblade comes spinning out of the air and lands point down in the ground.
Lightning's gunblade in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is capable of this feat, as shown when she battles Caius.
In Dragon Quest IV, Torneko Taloon occasionally trips when going up to attack the enemy with his sword. However, it somehow always lands in his target, pointy end first (always scoring a Critical Hit in the process, no less). Due to the vague description of the act, it's hard to tell how much of this is an accidental case of Throwing Your Sword Always Works, but the fact still stands. You know, even if Taloon happens to be wielding an abacus.
Inverted in Icewind Dale: the heroes can find a throwing axe that was badly botched by the craftsman and then enchanted. Though the spell turned it into a Precision-Guided Boomerang, it remained badly unbalanced. As the result, it deals bludgeoning damage, as it always hits the target hilt-first.
Devil May Cry has this happening so very much... Granted, the swords are alive.
In Starcraft 2General Warfield pulls a hydralisk spike out of his arm and drops it. It sticks point-first into the ground.
Whenever Travis Touchdown suplexes someone in No More Heroes, he throws his sword in the air. It then lands point-first in their chests.
In Modern Warfare 2, the throwing knife is like this, no matter what it hits. It's also an instant kill.
Happened in Tenchu 2 after Ayame knocked away Tatsumaru's sword.
Way of the Samurai 3 has this happening with every single weapon that leaves anybody's hand, whether it's a spear or a stick or a sword (or a giant tuna, or a six-foot-long green onion, you get the idea). Especially noticeable when you do one of the hundred-foe 'My bad for accidentally killing allies' missions - every single weapon lands pointy-end first. Slightly subverted in that it doesn't stick in the person if you throw them at people - it just hits, point-first, and bounces off, spins in the air a couple times and THEN lands pointy-end first, as usual.
The Realmz scenario Castle in the Clouds has your party notice a blue dragon far overhead lose a fight to some reds attempting to find something it had. Later, you can discover a powerful quarterstaff planted in the ground, having split a large bush's trunk in two top to bottom.
Intentionally averted in a cutscene in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where Zelda's dropped blade falls hilt-first and clangs unceremoniously onto the ground. Since she's surrendering, the was probably done because landing point-first wouldn't present the same theme of helplessness.
Whenever a weapon flies out of someone's hand in Samurai Shodown games, it ends up this way. Exceptions are rare and generally weapons where they're physically incapable of sticking out of the ground upright. Sometimes.
The "Knife" sub-weapon in the Castlevania games is one of the "thrown as a dart" types, though the "axe" weapon never deals less damage from hitting on the handle or top.
The old Kung Fu Master game had knife throwers who did these as dart-style.
'Narc' from 1988 had syringes thrown this way at your cop.
Xiahou Dun manages to this off in a cutscene of Dynasty Warriors 5 with Guan Yu's Blade on a Stick. For a while, Guan Ping also had a charge move where he throws his BFS and it lands in the ground sharp end first, causing an explosion.
Partially subverted in Hotline Miami, where tossing bladed weapons has a higher chance of knocking enemies out rather than killing them. Of course, if you have the Jake mask equipped, tossing stuff at enemies always results in a kill no matter what.
In the White Trailer of RWBY, when Weiss disarms the knight, the blade does a classic point down plant, though it does tip over about 20 seconds later.
Spacetrawler plays with this one. Martina throws her knife at an enemy, and it strikes hilt-first. However, getting hit in the face with a knife hilt still hurts the guy, distracting him long enough for Martina to crawl up to him, grab the knife, and stab him to death up close.
Happens in BIONICLE: Mask of Light when Tahu and Kopaka get knocked out.
In "Omens Part 2" The Sword of Omens falls this way after its wielder King Claudus is stabbed, embedding itself in a branch of a giant tree.
In "The Duelist And The Drifter" The Sword of Hattanzo very neatly falls vertically into the turf after the Duelist sends it sailing skyward out of his opponent's grip.
As anyone who has dropped, or accidentally brushed or knocked a knife off a counter can attest, this can become a very real worry very quick. There's a reason professional cooks are required to wear steel-toed shoes in certain countries. It's also why you should never try to catch a falling knife.
Zig-zagged with the Zande throwing knife. It was meant to kill, yes, mainly with the purposely shaped blade, but even the handle is a dangerous as the other parts, as shown right here.