Window Pain

Windows are there to be broken in fictional settings. And not just broken in Bar Brawls or by the sonic boom of some fast or loud thing happening in the middle of your action movie.

No, you can damage a window in more "subtle" ways.

If your teenager needs to get the attention of his crush who's grounded, he can throw pebbles at the window. Too much force, though, and CRACK!

If your crime syndicate is trying to scare a witness into leaving town so they don't have to Make It Look Like an Accident, they may toss a rock or a brick through the window, and CRACK! Threatening message sent.

The good guys are trying to get a Well-Intentioned Extremist to give up his hostages? Fire up that tear gas canister gun, and CRACK! Canisters released right at the guy's feet to get him to come out with his hands up.

The most innocent variation is kids playing ball. One kicks or hits the ball too far. We hear the window break offscreen, and the children scatter to avoid getting in trouble for it.

Frequently, a cat is heard from behind the broken window.

Other variations include:

Generally the window never shatters as it would in real life. The object just goes through and makes a hole big enough for itself.

Note that this trope isn't about a guy getting thrown out a window. Nor is it about the frustration and annoyance caused by a certain PC operating system.


    open/close all folders 

  • Arby's restaurant has frozen burgers thrown into their restaurant with the note tied to them. The workers in Arby's are not terribly threatened.
  • Geico insurance has one that proudly proclaims "Casey Mears drives [list of vehicles], Geico insures [previous list]. We insure almost everything Casey drives!" Casey hits a golf ball, it breaks a window. Announcer repeats, "...almost," as Casey drops the club and sheepishly backs away.

    Anime & Manga 

    Audio Plays 
  • Vivian Stanshall's LP version of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End includes the following scene:
    There was a terrific crash and a brick smashed through the window. About the brick was wrapped a note, which read simply: (Irish accent) "Hello, now. Oi'm yer new neighbour."
    Henry was plainly delighted. "He seems a decent enough egg. At least he didn't have the impertinence to present himself at the front door."

    Card Games 
  • Doomtown lets you install Stained-Glass Windows in one of your buildings to set this up (so that e.g. your dudes in the Town Square can join the fight).

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied (as many, many superheroes tropes) in Rat-Man. A superteam break-in plan to enter a villain house requires one of them to stealth to a windows, cut the glass, and crawl inside. Then he signals the other to enter... which they do by purposely smashing every other windows in the process.
  • Happens in Tintin in America, with a note reading, "For the last time: mind your own business!" From the implication that this is not the first time, Tintin starts to realize who he's up against.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield: Jon once got a brick through the window with the less-than-threatening message of "You seem boring". Garfield notes they should send the writer a thank you brick.
  • One Dilbert strip had one of Dilbert's (now) ex-girlfriends describe how much she didn't enjoy their first and only date by writing a multi-page document on the subject, wrapping each page around a different rock, and throwing each rock through a different window.

    Fan Works 
  • Shortly before Chrysalis Visits The Hague is set, Judge Mullan's window gets smashed by a hefty battery wrapped in a note reading, "Paardenneuker"note .

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Thin Man
    • In the first film of the series, Nick accidentally breaks a window playing with his new toy gun.
    • In After the Thin Man, a stone with a note attached flies through the Charles' kitchen window. Hilarity Ensues when their dog Asta grabs the note in his jaws and is pursued through the house.
  • In The Incredible Hulk (2008) tear gas canisters are fired through the windows of a glass bridge at a cornered Bruce Banner. Very bad idea...
  • Parodied in the Mel Brooks movie High Anxiety. The main character, the new head of a mental asylum, receives a rock to the window with a message - a friendly welcome note from the psycho ward.
  • In Forrest Gump, Upon returning to live with Forrest, Jenny Curran comes across the old homestead of her abusive father while walking with Forrest, and in a release of all the anger from the suffering that began in that old house, she starts throwing rocks at the old house, one of which ends up going through a window, before ultimately breaking down when she runs out of rocks to throw.
    Forrest: Sometimes, I guess there just aren't enough rocks.
  • The main action of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids starts when Ron, one of the Thompsons from next door, hits a baseball through the Szalinskis' upper window, which activates Wayne's shrinking machine and gets in the path of the laser that was making it so that it blew up the apples he was using to test the machine out.
  • In Home Alone 2, when Kevin sees that the toy store is being robbed, he breaks the window in order to set off the alarm. He attaches a note to the brick explaining his actions to the owner.
  • Played with in Hot Fuzz, where Nicholas Angel throws his nightstick to shatter a glass window...before jumping through the still-intact glass door beside it.
  • Repeatedly in Penelope. Every last suitor up to the point Penelope's mother realized shatterproof glass was a good idea.
  • Another 48 Hrs. must set a record for most broken glass in a single film.
  • The original Die Hard turns this into a plot point when the villain shoots out all the glass around the barefoot hero.
  • In The Matrix when a helicopter crashes into a glass building.
  • In Blade Runner, Zhora runs through several store window panes while being shot by Deckard.
  • In Gia, the made-for-TV movie adaptation of the life of Gia Marie Carangi, Gia smashes her girlfriend's window to let herself in.
  • In Young Frankenstein, the title character is playing darts with Inspector Kemp, and the conversation is unnerving him enough that the darts end up in all sorts of unlikely places, including through the window.
  • In The Last Castle, the prisoners construct a trebuchet to put rocks through the warden's office window.
  • Remember the Titans features this in classic "brick through the window" form.
  • In Footloose, Ren tries to start a movement to repeal his town's "no dancing" law... and late at night, he gets a brick through a window of his home for his troubles.
  • Animal House: Pinto goes the rocks-at-the-window route to get the attention of his girlfriend Clorette. Suffice it to say he succeeds.
  • In Left Behind (2014), Chloe Steele breaks through the glass of a sealed-off hospital to find her brother Raymie, who was Caught Up in the Rapture.
  • In The Hunt, Lucas gets a brick thrown into his kitchen window, supposedly by Theo, whose daughter Lucas allegedly molested.
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, a rock with a threatening note tied to it is tossed through Sir Henry's carriage as it drives into London, warning him to stay away from Baskerville Hall or face madness and death.
  • In Mississippi Burning, the Klan sends a message to the two FBI agents by shooting a hole into the window of their apartment. Same happens later to Lester.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Dixon chooses smash the glass door of Red's building with his nightstick and step through the empty frame instead of just opening it. Likewise, he smashes the window in Red's office before before throwing Red out.

  • In the Father Brown story "The Blue Cross," Valentine finds a restaurant with a smashed windowpane while searching for Flambeu. When he asks the waiter about it, this humorous exchange occurs:
    "'Here,' I says to the chap who was nearly out of the door, 'you've paid too much.' 'Oh,' he says, very cool, 'have we?' 'Yes,' I says, and picks up the bill to show him. Well, that was a knock-out."
"What do you mean?" asked his interlocutor.
"Well, I'd have sworn on seven Bibles that I'd put 4s. on that bill. But now I saw I'd put 14s., as plain as paint."
"Well?" cried Valentin, moving slowly, but with burning eyes, "and then?"
"The parson at the door he says all serene, 'Sorry to confuse your accounts, but it'll pay for the window.' 'What window?' I says. 'The one I'm going to break,' he says, and smashed that blessed pane with his umbrella."
  • In Sarah Caudwell's The Sybil in Her Grave, someone throws a rock through Daphne's window to scare her away. The kicker is that Daphne threw it herself, to make herself look sympathetic and persecuted.
  • In Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls, a Molotov cocktail is thrown through the main character's window after it becomes common knowledge that he was previously convicted of rape. It's discovered before it can cause too much damage, and it is implied that it was poorly made and intended to send a message rather than cause real damage.
  • During Galaxy of Fear, Zak Arranda has recurring Bad Dreams about his dead parents standing or floating outside of his window hammering on or otherwise trying to open it. In one, they break it.
  • The short Dresden Files story "Day Off" has Darth Wannabe throw a smoke bomb into Harry's basement via window. Unfortunately, Harry kind of had some bigger problems some at the time...
  • Discworld:
    • In The Colour of Magic, Rincewind reflects that there's no room for logic in a world where the gods go round to atheists houses and smash their windows.
    • Similarly, in Small Gods, the barman at the Ephebian taverna doesn't like the philosophers to discuss religion, since it leads to lightning bolts coming through the roof with notes wrapped round them.
    • Played for Drama in Jingo, when anti-Klatchian rioters chuck a firebomb through the window of Mr Goriff's takeaway.
    • The Golem Trust are victims of a brick through the window in Going Postal, but Adora Belle just picks it up and files it under B.
  • Girl Waits With Gun draws on this trope for a lot of its source material. Being the (mostly) true story of three sisters harassed by local criminals, a lot of the "brick-mail" letters still exist in official records.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: When Matty is kidnapped in Red Leech, the kidnappers throw a large rock with a note tied to it through Crowe's window. The note says that if Crowe leaves them alone for three months, Matty will be released unharmed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "The Jewel Robbery", Mr. Conklin accidentally breaks a jewelry store window with a bag of laundry. Unlike in most examples of this trope, the whole window shatters from the (unintended) impact.
  • Police Squad!:
    • An inversion: a window with a note attached is thrown into the rock garden. Later that same episode, the same criminal throws a rock with a note attached—except the note is a mime, who acts out the message.
    • In another episode, the neighborhood protection racket tries to send a message to the owners of a key store by perforating the place with machine guns... and then throwing a rock through the window. Naturally, Frank Drebin focuses on the rock and fails to notice the machine-gun fire. He later asks the forensics lab to find out where the rock came from, and gets a geology lesson in response. Later on Drebin confronts the mook who threw the rock, who starts giving the exact same geology lesson.
  • The Drew Carey Show: In the "Drew and the Singles Union" episode, some angry employees throw a Dilbert doll through Drew's window in a nod to the similarities between the two.
    Kate: [reads attached note] Next time, it's life size!
  • House breaks a window with a rock to illegally enter a patient's home in "Alone."
  • Heroes:
    • Episode 1, volume 4. Matt gets shot with a taser that comes through the window.
    • Happens quite a lot in Heroes. In season one, Jessica threw Matt through a window.
    • In season two, Claire punched out Elle's car window, which didn't have Soft Glass, to intimidate her by showing off her regeneration.
    • At the end of season two, Elle blasts Sylar through a window, which also didn't have Soft Glass (but he had a bottle of healer juice so all was good).
  • Randy from The Wire gets a Molotov Cocktail through his window for talking to the police.
  • A The Whitest Kids U' Know sketch features a businessman "at war" with a rival investment bank across the street, culminating in him launching a mortar shell through their window (this is after, of course, a sniper shoots one of his interns and a flashbomb sails through the window and goes off).
  • In the Pilot of Outsourced, one of the disgruntled employees whose job was outsourced throws a brick with an attached message through the window.
    Todd: "You bastard"?
    Jerry: [cheerfully] That's for me. [places it on a pile of similar bricks]
  • Good Luck Charlie has the mom playing goalie for her younger son's practice at hockey. But the kid's first shot goes through an internal window out into the yard.
  • In Misfits, Kelly uses the leg of a stool to punch out a window pane so they can break into a flat.
  • Parodied in an episode of Will & Grace. Will and Jack start renting a place together, and one of their new neighbors throws a brick through their (open) window. It's actually a loaf of homemade banana bread, with a note giving them a warm welcome to the neighborhood. (The locals are thrilled to have two gay men move in, since if a gay district springs up, property values would increase).
  • In one episode of Burn Notice, some hitmen are sent to take out a guy Team Westen needs alive. In order to buy some time, Fiona throws a brick through the target's window and starts screaming for him to come out and face her like a man. The hitmen, seeing that the guy's "crazy ex-girlfriend" has just triggered the alarm and alerted the cops, decide to come back another day.
  • Averted in the Firefly episode "The Train Job", where Mal gets thrown out a hologram bar window. Presumably it's cheaper than repeatedly replacing real windows.
  • Red Dwarf: In the 'Sdrawkcab episode, Lister gets in a pub fight and has to leap backwards through a broken window that reassembles itself, landing in the arms of two kind people who catch him so as to cushion his fall.
  • Sledge Hammer!; when a classic Cartoon Bomb is sent to Trunk's office, Hammer begins pounding on a window with a chair so as to throw it out. The window is both fixed and reinforced, so it takes some battering. However, even after Doreau has extinguished the fuse by dipping it in her coffee, Hammer keeps battering away at the window till it shatters. Despite the need to break the window having passed.
  • The Worst Year of My Life, Again: In the School Play episode, Alex attempts to attract Nicola's attention by throwing a rock at her bedroom window. Naturally, he smashes her window.
  • Motive: In "Bad Blonde", the killer throws a half-brick through the windscreen of the Victim of the Week's classic car not long before the murder.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "Sorrow Songs", the gypsies throw a brick through the window of the Ballarat Courier after editor Edward Tyneman is accused of Nadia's murder.
  • Cannon: In "Devil's Playground", the bikers throw a rock through the window of the diner where Cannon is holed up with his prisoner.

  • The intro to Billy Joel's "You May Be Right", the opening track from his 1980 album Glass Houses, whose cover photo shows Billy holding a rock, about to throw it through a large window. The back cover photo shows Billy looking out through a broken pane of glass.
  • Billy Idol's "Shock to the System" opens with glass shattering, although it's not clear whether it's a window or a bottle. Given the song's theme about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, it could be either.

  • The play Cabaret has this - to a Jewish man in just-pre-Nazi Germany.
  • Happens in the play Sheik, Rattle and Roll, leading to the following joke:
    "It's a brick. With a note tied to it."
    "What does it say?"
    "'Mustafa Abdul. Window Repairer'."
  • In The Bat, a stone is thrown through a window with a vaguely worded threatening note tied on with string.
  • In Margin for Error, an angry mob throws a brick through a window at the Consul, narrowly missing him as he raises a toast to a bust of Adolf Hitler.

    Video Games 
  • In EVERY FPS with windows, you can shoot them for no reason. Just fun.
    • Sometimes, though, as seen in Half-Life, they'll be bulletproof or bullet-resistant glass to keep players from going places they're not supposed to.
    • Played with in Freeman's Mind "I refuse to believe every window in this place is bullet proof *smashes window* YES!"
  • Time Splitters 2 takes the cake: 3 bonus timed missions involve breaking EVERY windows in the area, one with the grenade launcher fixed to an AKA 47, one with bricks, one with a grenade launcher. And the game even remember how many windows you broke in your career.
  • In Mirror's Edge you can jump through windows by punching at them just before impact.
  • Paper Boy: you get bonus points for each non subscriber's window you put a paper through.
  • Trail of Anguish begins with you locked out of your college dorm in the middle of the night. The Player Character throws some rocks at the windows in an attempt to get someone to let her in. Eventually, she manages to break a window and a lamp inside of it, starting a fire in the dorm. (Yes, you have to do all of this to progress.) Breaking another window with a rock distracts a security guard and gets you into the library after hours.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Happens when Fred and Barney run afoul of some criminals in The Flintstones
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, it's not a rock, but one of the poisoned Joker Fish that comes through the window of a predicted victim's home.
  • In The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart of War", Ralph (with a note attached) is thrown through the Simpsons' window; he announces "I'm a brick!"
    • On another occasion, instead of a brick with a note, a ringing telephone is thrown through a window.
    • In "Moe'N'a Lisa", Mow throws a brick with a note through the Simpsons' window after Homer forgets his birthday.
    • Parodied in "The War of Art", where after the Simpsons refuse to give back a valuable painting they bought from the the Van Houtens, a rock gets thrown through the window telling them to give the painting back, followed by rock with another note telling they have the right to keep the money. Soon, dozens of rocks have been thrown through the window and the Simpsons are sorting out the notes supporting and threatening them.
    Marge: We don't even get this many Christmas cards!
    • On another occasion Bart throws a rock through Mr Burns' window. Burns initially thinks it is a bird that has become petrified and lost its sense of direction.
  • A would-be assassin shoots a harpoon through a porthole in an episode of Jonny Quest.
  • The Powerpuff Girls kept the glaziers working overtime in the city of Townsville with all their entrances and exits.
  • SWAT Kats escaped from the newly originated Dr. Viper in season two by throwing themselves out through the window.
  • The Fairly OddParents! has a few examples:
    • Vicky defenestrates forest animals through of the Turner house in "Vicky Loses Her Icky".
    • Timmy gets toy chattering teeth attached to bricks thrown through his window by the mean dentist, "Dr. Bender".
  • Cat 22 in Cartoon Network's "Wedgies" series throws himself through windows on several occasions to get away from his bosses and their ministrations once he's injured doing his spy-on-dogs job.
  • Parodied in Cow and Chicken: the Red Guy uses bricks, each engraved with a single word (or sometimes two short words), to send a long message to the eponymous characters' house, with each brick tossed nailing Chicken in the head. Naturally, the house is a mess afterwards. It's pretty evident that Red isn't throwing bricks to catch the household's attention as much as he's sadistic and likes tossing bricks through people's windows.
  • Happens to Sylvester after singing the "Pussy Kins Cat Food" song in "Claws in the Lease".
    Sylvester: Are you eating more cat food lately... but enjoying it less?
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: "Tales of Ba Sing Se - The Tale Of Iroh" invokes the trope. A bunch of children are playing and put their projectile through a window made of rice paper.
  • In Rankin-Bass' adaptation of The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, the villains, a group of troll-like monsters called Awgwas, go the threatening-note route, throwing a rock through a window of Santa's workshop tied to a note that reads "If you make one more toy, we're coming for you." Santa is undeterred.
  • In Family Guy, in episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", after the town discovers that Brian is an atheist, not only does a rock get thrown through the window, but a CAR as well.
    Brian: I thought he who is without sin can cast the first Prius.
    • In "Ratings Guy", a trash can gets thrown through the window.
    • Played with in "The Simpsons Guy", when a brick gets thrown through the window when feminists are outside protesting Peter's misogynist comic.
    Peter: Hey, it's that brick I ordered. (another brick gets thrown) Uh-oh, I didn't order that brick.
  • This happens in the Thomas the Tank Engine episode "Whistle & Sneezes" where a group of troublesome boys were throwing stones at Henry's Express coaches, which nearly endangered the passengers. The coaches then express their pain:
    Coaches: They've broken our glass! They've broken our glass!
  • In the The Amazing World of Gumball episode, "The Club", when Gumball and his family are having dinner, the members of the Reject Club send a brick with a DVD with their message about taking revenge to Gumball tied to it through the dining room window.
    Richard: At least it landed in the vegetables. [the brick falls on the cake and squishes it] Aaaah! The cake!

    Real Life 
  • Inverted with the video of an Irish car robber trying to commit a break-in. If anything, the window is the one causing him pain.